Mass Development

Mass Development

Amongst the vast publications of the exercise genre, whether in the online community or in printed magazines and books, there are those in the strength and conditioning profession who debate many extremely complex issues. Training protocols, unique exercise choices and highly complicated theories are hashed over endlessly in theoretical terms, with little consideration for what is actually going on in the gyms around the world. As you take part in exercise forums and visit public gyms, few topics dominate interest more than the often mystical pursuit of mass development.

For all the mystery that “mass development” appears to be steeped in, the endless magical exercises and unique protocols that are often suggested, it is far simpler than explained. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. First I said “diet was simple,” as well as supplementation, and now I am telling you that packing on the mass is “simple” too. While I am likely committing a cardinal sin in an industry that likes to self-promote and make things sound far more complicated then they really are, a simplified approach will help you attain much of your mass development goals. Maybe I should re-phrase that because after decades of first-hand experience, a lot of “this” seems remarkably easy and I wish someone in the exercise media would actually say things a heck of lot more simply, particularly because the readers are often very young impressionable individuals with modest training experience.

You have to understand that “mass training” really isn’t quantum physics. A well laid-out training plan that takes into account the physiological basics of human movement and exercise science, applied in a manner to promote maximum muscular development is, in fact, quite “basic”.

Let’s first put aside the complex notions and general hypotheses and instead deal in real world observations, primarily dealing with the evolution of the exercise world and diet. While you can point fingers at who’s to blame for confusing the public, this much is certainly true. Many who market themselves as coaches (likely to hide their complete lack of athleticism) have shrouded mass training in secrets in order to sell underlying products. Hopefully this article will answer all your questions, And while this could be a solid template for a book (and likely will for a variety of the afore-mentioned coaches), it is free.

Long time readers of mine know that I visit public gyms to train in. Wherever I am traveling, I’ll just visit a local gym and pay my “day -rate” for a training session without any fanfare or introduction. It’s a simple procedure and likely some of the most beneficial “market analysis” you could ever find. (A number of facilities ask for my independent audit and recommendations.) This approach allows me to truly understand the gym-going public. What is striking, is that while gyms’ amenities, general décor, and equipment may differ considerably from location to location, there is an outstanding amount of common denominators amongst gym-goers.

First of all (and this might seem like an odd point to make straight off), as I audit facilities whether they are in lush surroundings off of Rush St in Chicago or the gym-chain / palaces in Southern California, it is evident that the public needs the use of professional trainers more and the training industry needs to enhance the educational process for said professionals. As I visit public gyms across the country individuals are gazing lovingly into the mirror performing a seemingly endless array of curling exercises or moving from station to station on well appointed machines while never (please excuse my generalization) lifting a weight from the floor, putting one on their back or probably more importantly simply working hard. Whether it is the remarkably short attention span of this era that necessitates very unusual “catchy” exercises or the well marketed “secret” exercise tool, people are utilizing questionable movements (it would seem that the cable machine half twist with one foot on an unstable surface is now being used at epidemic proportions) without ever being able to maintain posture. Today’s typical exercise facility is full of gleaming machines of questionable value, emphasizing immaterial actions and is devoid of an understanding of the general lack of physical development of the public as well as the basics of the iron-game. Originally, the intention of weight room machines was to assist in isolating a muscle. This certainly has its place but over time they replaced the classics of the iron-game. While weight-rooms will be full of individuals training to pack on “mass” they will be equally spending their time with endless sets of immaterial supplemental lifts and their training regimes are devoid of the great mass building exercises. In the modern gym, power cages and squat racks are rarely an appropriate portion of a facility and have been disgraced into becoming “curl” stations or anything other than then their original intention. Free weight areas, much less lifting platforms, are virtually non-existent and the option of pulling a weight from the floor is not only discouraged but logistically difficult. Now in a general audit when the value received isn’t appropriate for the time invested we have to question what is happening, why it is happening and what can be done. In this specific situation, gym goers aren’t receiving the benefits they should and much can be learnt from the past.

Exercise selections have radically changed over the last decade of training and barely resemble the same pursuit thirty years ago. The basics of the iron game, whether intentionally or not, have slowly been extracted from the modern exercise world. The role of machine-based training along with very poor general athleticism, sub-standard work thresholds and reliance upon isolationist movements have changed the standard weight room profile but none more profoundly than the role of “marketing” to the public and education of the profession. My earliest lessons in training came from weightlifting giants Tommy Kono and Norbert Schemanski as well as legends from the golden age of bodybuilding such John Grimek, Steve Reeves, the awe inspiring Reg Park and the Blonde Bomber himself, Dave Draper, who built remarkable physiques using classic tried and true exercises. And let me say this isn’t one of these old tales of “things were better back then.” With all the magic of science and the advancements in the industry, those old classic exercises that were used to build legends, still out-perform the rest and are sorely needed if we are to reverse the obesity epidemic. Trust me on this, exercise solutions are not going to come from an infomercial that you see at 3pm but from what worked in the past.

To understand “mass development” better, we first have to consider the basics of resistance training, how to manifest maximal gains and even the typical mistakes that are made. And if you haven’t already guessed, I like to consider things in the simplest manner so please excuse me for a wild paragraph or two as I give a phenomenally short synopsis that is generally thrown together as a book.

Let’s first consider that in essence all weight room work is simply pushing, pulling, squatting or pressing (with of course actions such lunging, reaching and extending). To add to this simplified look there really are only three forms of muscular contraction; isometric, eccentric/yielding and contraction/static. It’s really that simple and from yet another standpoint, external resistance is either heavy, constant or a volume based system. Each has been shown as effective in some manner for our concern of “mass development”.

Constant tension requires, as the name would suggest, long slow tempo sets of roughly 45 to 60 seconds in duration. This type of approach will result in increased HGH and IGF-1 release. Heavy loading is generally performed at the 85% level of 6 repetitions with more advanced lifters working at a higher level with lower reps. This type of approach will cause muscular growth through heightened recruitment of motor units as well as hormonal impact. The Volume method is one that many are very familiar with, using high reps ranges of eight to fifteen and rest intervals in the forty-five second mark.

Moving along quickly, as you consider the aspect of tension, it is important for you to first recall the early physics classes where you learnt that force is defined as F = ma (Force is equal to mass times acceleration). This is a critical point for our purposes and it should signal to you very quickly that the greater muscular contraction, the greater generation of force. Yet equally as quick you should also note that to increase force we can either increase the load or likely more important, increase the speed of the lift which is obviously done with a lighter load. It needs to be heavily stressed that the load isn’t performed light but with a ruthless ferocity with every repetition in every set in order to recruit the highest amount of motor units. Remarkably what this complex summary establishes in highly simplified manner is that it isn’t the weight you lift but the speed in which you lift it. The manner in which you do it as it relates to proper postural alignment / muscular recruitment. Postural alignment must always be maintained and the moment technical form suffers the athlete should stop performing the lift. While for most my career, the notion of deriving size and strength gains in using maximal bar speed with a lighter load wasn’t accepted and was actually completely scoffed at, now it seems the tide has turned and speed of movement is now recognized as supreme.

Now this is where it gets somewhat exciting because as you throw all of that together with the understanding that fast eccentric / yielding actions (as fast as the concentric but always with the highest quality technique and postural alignment) promotes greater muscular growth / fast twitch hypertrophy than that of slower action, we are then able to produce a training approach that is remarkably effective, utilizes movements with the greatest amount of muscles recruited and is a highly economical use of training time. This consideration is most appropriate for compound “total body lifts”.

In our program we’re going to look at a series of basic total body movements as “Focus Lifts” and then supplement them with important “supplemental exercises”, each with consideration of appropriate tension for the exercise and the overall training theme. However I should note that great care will be placed on the development of stabilization mass of the shoulder capsule, lower and mid-back as well as the glutes, hips and hamstrings to avoid injuries when using power movements. I think this is one of the greatest weaknesses of the modern training environment and the reason why many injuries occur as well as the lack of carryover to a “functional” strength in real-life situations. While I prefer not to use the phrase, it is somewhat unavoidable that the training will have a “functional” side to it in the sense that exercises will always have a responsible element to understanding preventative care in them. It is thus crucial to understand that all lifts are to be executed with perfect technical form and proper postural alignment. One of the gravest errors with both short and long term repercussions is when a lifter performs a movement with poor posture. This results in a myriad of different problems from not deriving the intended (muscular) benefit of the exercise to causing a series of exercise induced injuries.

It should be also be noted that this program requires only a modest lifting background and utilizes exercises that can be quickly learnt. In essence, this is a time-sensitive approach that any individual can make use of with immediate impact and virtually no learning curve as it relates to movements. For those familiar with Renegade Training™ my terminology of “focus” and “supplemental” lifts will be no surprise but one difference you will quickly notice is that I have omitted the more “complex” lifts given that many individuals will not that have the dynamic range of motion and athletic background to learn these lifts in a time sensitive manner.

We will use the following lifts:

     
 
Focus Lifts  
Squat Deadlift (snatch grip)
Bench Press Bent Press (found within the RATâ„¢ system)

Each weight training session will contain two to three total “Focus lifts”, of four sets of six repetitions for a total of eight to twelve total sets and twenty-four repetitions. Lifts are executed using a weight at 65% of 1 rep max.

 
     


     
 
Supplemental lifts  
Hack Squats Front Squats
Glute Ham Raise Olympic Good Morning
Bent over Rows See Saw Press
Pull Ups / Chin-ups Cuban Press
Internal External Rotation Rope Pulls

Supplemental lifts consist of four total lifts divided equally between “hybrid” and “pre-hab” movements.

Supplemental “Hybrid” movements will consist of two lifts of 3 sets each in the 80-95% range of maximal effort with rest periods between 45 to 60 seconds.

Supplemental “Pre-Hab” movements will consist of two lifts of 3 sets each in the 70-75% range of maximal effort of rest periods between 35-45 seconds.

 
     

Focus Lifts \ Squat

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Performing the basic Squat is relatively simple if you follow this approach. As you walk into the rack, grasp the bar firmly with complete and absolute control and allow it nestle along your traps. Do not pad the bar, as it will change the angle of movement; do not use a weight belt unless under strict orders by a physician or medical practitioner. With a good inhale of the lungs, the chest up and back strong, walk out of the rack under control. Initiate the movement by pushing the buttocks back and ensure the angle of the hips and knees are the same as you descend to parallel or rock-bottom position, and then begin to reverse the motion in your ascent as you push your knees outwards and drive up your feet “through” the floor. Pay particular attention that the torso lean isn’t too far forward as this will have a dramatically different (negative) impact upon your training. Generally because of weak hips, hamstrings and lower back, many well intentioned lifters lean over too much and the lift becomes more of a back lift.


Focus Lifts \ Bench Press

While the Bench Press is quite possibly the most common lift in gyms today next to the holy “curl,” it is one that also consistently is done incorrectly. Lie flat on your back on a weight bench, your feet flat and firmly planted on the floor tucked underneath you so you feel tight if not loaded and ready to “drive” off through the Bench Press. To begin the movement, firmly grasp the bar and intensely pinch your rear delts. Your grip width should vary from shoulder width to one in which the elbow-to-wrist joint is 90 degrees to the bar at the bottom of the lift. Disengage the bar from the rack either by yourself or preferably with a training partner as it is difficult to get proper position without this and “pull the weight down” with your lats under control to your chest at nipple level. Keep your elbows in tight and at no time allow the bar to bounce off your chest. As the bar touches your chest, drive it upward, pushing the bar off as you drive away from it (into the bench) in an explosive manner.
Focus Lifts \ Deadlift (Snatch grip)

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To perform the Snatch grip Deadlift, align your feet flat beneath the bar and squat down to a neutral back position (i.e., 45 to 60 degrees), as in the clean lift, with shins against bar. Grip the bar with a classic Snatch grip (distance is equal to span of elbow to elbow joint with the arms raised to the sides and parallel to the ground). Pull the bar up and by fully extending your hips and knees. Throughout the lift, keep your hips low, your shoulders high, your arms and back straight by pinching your rear delts back and the bar close to your body.
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Supplemental Lifts \ Hack Squats

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Stand in front of a loaded barbell. Address the bar with your feet about shoulder width apart and a proud chest with the shoulders pinched back. Squat down to reach the bar behind you with a grip the same

width as when performing Cleans. With your back straight and shoulders pinched back, drive the bar up by pushing heels through the floor. Maintain an angle of ascent with the bar near the calves and as the bar nears your hamstrings, punch the hips forward. Return the weight to the floor by reversing the motion with a fast tempo up and a slower controlled tempo down. Do not bounce the weight. While noted as a “supplemental” lift, this exercise will be added to the Focus section of the training regime.
Supplemental Lifts \ Front Squat

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With the bar sitting on your collarbone / shoulder region known as the “rack” position. The lifter may in fact allow their hands to open yet have total control of the bar. Elbows turn under the bar, basically with the upper arm parallel to the ground and the torso staying taunt and firm. The feet are spaced roughly shoulder-width apart and turned out slightly. Drop into the squat by pushing the butt back into a full rock-bottom squat then push, drive up and thru. While noted as a “supplemental” lift this exercise can be substituted with standard Squats to suit individual needs.
Supplemental Lifts \ Glute Ham Raise

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With your knees pressed against the pad, raise your body from the knee joints by driving up with your hamstrings and exerting pressure against the toe plate of the machine.. To perform the lift on the floor, apply significant padding to the floor so your body is in biomechanical alignment similar to that of using the machine. In this situation your toes will be pressed against the floor and a spotter will need to apply significant pressure to your heels (heels not the achilles!) Lower your body toward the floor, keeping your hips forward and your feet firmly planted. Then explode upward just before you touch the ground.
Supplemental Lifts \ Bent Press

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I brought out some old-school dumbbells for the Bent Press because this one really takes the iron-game back a few decades. However this is a powerful upper body developer and will thicken up the back incredibly. With the weight in one hand, position your feet slightly more than shoulder width apart with your opposite foot turned out. Hold the weight at shoulder height with your palm facing in and begin the lift by making a corkscrew movement underneath to the side and turning your hand clockwise and upward. When your hand is extended completely, straighten to a standing position.
Supplemental Lifts \ Bent Over Rows

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A classic exercise that you rarely see performed today but is still one of the best back developers. As the photo demonstrates I prefer to grip the bar underhanded as it is less likely for an individual to deviate from the neutral back position or “throw” the weight with the overhand version. While in a neutral back position and with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, pull bar into body slightly below solar plexus.
Supplemental Lifts \ Pullups

Grasping the bar with hands facing away from you, pull up until chin is above bar. Lower with control. Once this loading is easy, place the appropriate Iron Woody band on hips and wrap the opposite band around heavy dumbbell on ground. This will increase tension on the all-important eccentric portion and take this exercise to another level. This is significantly more challenging than adding a weight (i.e. dip belt or holding dumbbell with legs). As a supplemental lift this exercise is performed at 80 – 85% intensity of 3 sets of 6 repetitions. As an individual advances we will create a cluster super-set with this lift with adding “Drag” curls.
Supplemental Lifts \ Chin-Ups

Grasping bar with hands facing away from you, pull up until chin is above bar. Lower with control. Once this loading is easy, place the appropriate Iron Woody band on hips and wrap the opposite band around heavy dumbbell on ground. This will increase tension on the all-important eccentric portion and take this exercise to another level. This is significantly more challenging than adding a weight (i.e. dip belt or holding dumbbell with legs). As a supplemental lift this exercise is performed at 80 – 85% intensity of 3 sets of 6 repetitions. As an individual advances we will create a cluster super-set with this lift with adding “Drag” curls.
Internal External Rotation: With bands looped under feet and upper arm parallel to ground, rotate hands down so that it is level with the elbow and back up with constant tension. Perform 3 sets x 12-15 reps, at roughly 70% intensity. This is shown using Iron Woody bands.

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Cuban Press; as above, holding bands at sides, pinch shoulders back, then pull weight up such that upper arm is parallel to ground and constant tension . Perform 3 sets x 12-15 reps. This is shown using Iron Woody bands.

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Cuban Press, step 1 Cuban Press, step 2

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Cuban Press, step 3

Rope pulls – With the bands held suspended to object above, allow for a downward pull while the hands are kept in the visual field above the head. The hands are then pulled to the side with the emphasis placed on pulling from the inferior border of the scapula. This is shown using Iron Wood bands.

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Core / Trunk postural exercises

The following static holds will be performed at the conclusion of session’s 1 and 2 as per the training program. While seemingly simple they will have a dramatic long term impact upon your training and cannot be underestimated. Be diligent with this as it will take slightly under twenty minutes.

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Rx, position 1 Rx, position 2

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Rx, position 3

The basic Plank is a “simple” exercise that can have an extraordinary impact. It remains one of best movements to strengthen the entire core area and is easily coached within a team environment. With toes and forearms on the ground, keep back flat and bring navel in.

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The side plank is one of the best exercises for strengthening and stabilizing the trunk. Plank movements are extraordinary for strengthening the transverse abdominus that wraps around the entire core. To perform with either forearm against the ground, or with arm outstretched straight, stack top leg atop the lower one and in essence create a 45 degree angle of the top. I remind myself to push the top high, while drawing the navel in.

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The Horse pose: From the all four’s position, raise leg up and opposite arm up, maintaining at parallel position. Thumb should be pointed up and navel drawn in again.

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The “Superman” is a simple yet remarkably effective exercise for the entire posterior chain. To perform while lying on your stomach, raise hands / legs off the ground as high as possible. This can be performed with one hand/leg or the more demanding version with both hands / legs raised.

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One arm Superman
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Two arm Superman

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Bar hang

Long before the “exercise evolution” and the development of a multitude of expensive machinery the issue of “decompression” (of the spine) was a standard part of every training regime. But as machines moved in, even hi-bars were replaced with less demanding pull-up stations. Bar hang’s will do wonders for overall back health and should be a regular part of every training session with 1-2 minute holds at the end of each session.

Now with this “simple” block of exercises we can put it together for a basic training regime. What you should have noticed about this program is its “no-nonsense” approach, its very programmable nature (very easy to add additional movements in light of weaknesses) and its lack of wasted motions. In many ways it recognizes the physical needs of efficient training and draws more upon classic scientific ideas such as the “path of least resistance” and the “80-20 rule” named after the neo-classic economist Vilfredo Pareto. While it is difficult to resist the temptation of a historical review of micro-economics, our training protocols reflect this basic rule that most of your results (80%) will come from a smaller portion of your efforts (20%). I think this is the case for most people training today, so we have trimmed the fat if you will, for a highly intensive program.

Of course I would be remiss not to comment on diet given this article’s focus on mass development. I won’t waste your time on bellowing vibrato statements to “get big you have to eat big” and instead tell you to eat “right” and make it a simple plan that you can sustain.

From my three part “Simplicity” diet series on ProSource (“Simplicity”), I will suggest these following basic rules:.

  • Eat healthy balanced meals with finely marbled meat, and fresh vegetable and fruit sources. Proportions of each, should be roughly the size of your palm and make use of natural marinades (i.e. olive oil).
  • Consume 10-15 Vegetables a day as a minimum stress including cruciferous vegetables. They enhance protein efficiency and amongst other “little” things are known to radically reduce the incidence of many types of cancer and other health issues.
  • Emphasize the quality of the meat / fish and produce sources. While more expensive than cheaper alternatives, where possible make use of ethical and hormone / pesticide-free ranchers / farms as well as your local farmer.
  • Add fruit with every meal as well as a real snack food that’ll sustain life such as nuts and olives.
  • Never consume man-made items and yes that means no boxed items or soft drinks – not once, not ever and yes that includes driving by the drive-thru.

A proper supplementation must emphasize the basics first. For a full reading of supplementation choices, please refer to “Simplicity, Part 3” (http://www.prosource.net/article-simplicity-part3.jsp). A proper regimen needs to include the following five standard items to assist in recovery in addition to increased protein consumption (i.e. NytroWhey & Supreme Protein bar);

  • Phosphatidytalserine
  • 2007 Mass Development clip image026 Mass DevelopmentAcetyl-l-carnitine
  • 2007 Mass Development clip image026 0000 Mass DevelopmentAlpha-lipoic-acid
  • 2007 Mass Development clip image026 0001 Mass Development“Omega-1250″
  • 2007 Mass Development clip image026 0002 Mass DevelopmentBranched-Chain Amino Acids (please refer to table in Simplicity Part 3)

The Program
It should be obvious that this program is void of direct isolation work to areas (i.e. biceps / triceps / calves) that are unfortunately all-too-often the focus of most programs. Exercises to isolate these areas can easily be added once the individual successfully is maintaining the program but the focus must always be maintained on the basics. In the event they are added, they should be prior to the shoulder capsule work.

This program uses 2 basic training sessions that could be utilized six to ten times (with the exception of an elite lifter who will assimilate much quicker) prior to revising the session. As noted previously individuals must apply themselves with all their might when executing the lifts – make every lift count as if everything in your life depends on it. These aren’t light loads but loads you should explode through.

For our purposes, training sessions are labeled “session 1” and “session 2” and should be performed with 48 to 72 hours “active rest” between them. The actual time between sessions will depend upon the individual’s recovery pattern and based upon a myriad of factors including diet, supplementation, and general rest as well as training history. I also stress the phrase “active rest” as in days between each session the individual should perform the “recovery workout” excerpt from my recent book on Hockey “More than a Game” that is posted on ProSource. In this situation “rest” is never passive but always quite busy to promote blood flow.

Finally in addition to this, it is strongly urged that at the conclusion of the training session and prior to the core / trunk postural holds the individual engage in 15 to 30 minutes of rigorous weighted GPP. Please refer to “General Physical Preparation” found at http://www.prosource.net/article-general-physical-prep.jsp

Session 1  
Squat 4 sets x 6 reps @ 65%
Hack Squat 4 sets x 6 reps @ 65%
Bent Press 4 sets x 3 reps @ 80-85%
Olympic Good Morning 3 sets x 5 reps @ 85%
Bent over Row 3 sets x 5 reps @ 85%
Pull Up 3 sets x 6 reps @ 85% (approx)
Cuban Press 3 sets x 12 reps @ 70-75%
Internal / External Rotation 3 sets x 12 reps @ 70-75%
Session 2  
Deadlift (snatch grip) 4 sets x 6 reps @ 65%
Front Squat 4 sets x 6 reps @ 65%
Bench Press 4 sets x 6 reps @ 65%
Glute Ham Raise 3 sets x 5 reps @ 85%
See – Saw Press 3 sets x 5 reps @ 85%
Chin Ups 3 sets x 5 reps @ 85%
Internal / External Rotation 3 sets x 12 reps @ 70-75%
Rope Pulls 3 sets x 12 reps @ 70-75%
Post Training Core / Trunk postural exercises (perform at the conclusion of each session)
Rx, position 1 hold for 30 seconds, change legs
Rx, position 2 hold for 30 seconds, change legs
Rx, position 3 hold for 30 seconds, change legs
Perform the above movements without rest in a circuit fashion. Repeat 3 continuous times.
Session 1  
Plank 2 sets x 60 seconds
Side Plank 2 sets x 30 seconds (each side)
Horse 2 sets x 30 seconds (each side)
Superman (single arm / leg) 1 set x 30 seconds (each side)
Superman (double) 1 set x 30 seconds

Good luck and its time to get to work!

John Davies, Founder Renegade Training has just published 8 book including “Mastery on the Gridiron” – a 300 page opus on training for Football and “More than a Game” – the Renegade approach to dominating in Hockey
Chat Live with Coach Davies in the Renegade Training forums!

This was originally posted on ProSource.net.

Master Your Mindset

By Chris Gethin

Most of us want to be better bodybuilders, and most of us can if we only put our minds to it. Yes, some people hold the advantage of being smarter than others but on many occasions success boils down to who wants it bad enough. OK, it’s obvious that if you spend most of your day indoors watching the TV, the chances of you meeting your daydreaming expectations will probably end up wallowing in self pity. But if you get up and challenge yourself on a day to day basis then there is every chance you will achieve, or at least come close to realizing your set goals.


Master Your Mindset

The way to attack your goals is to detail your direct path in order to get there before you haphazardly attempt them. If you want to go at it with the high possibility of failure, then you may begin now or continue what you are doing already. Have you ever heard of the saying, “fail to plan, plan to fail”? If you want to attempt your bodybuilding goals with the least possibility of failure, then I suggest you read the following editorial first.

Gary Strydom has for years practiced the importance of mental preparation. He goes as far as training in Gold’s Gym in Venice at 10.30 in the evening knowing that the facility will be quiet at this time, allowing very little distraction to break his concentration when obliterating his muscles. He has a picture in his mind of what he wants to achieve and look like, and he will do everything necessary to keep that picture in his mind during his entire workout. 6 Times Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates did something very similar. He remembered the exact sets and reps he did on every exercise to write into his training log book when he returned home over an hour following his workout because his entire day revolved around the certain body part he was training. “I knew what exercises I was going to do and in what order before I even got to the gym because I had already done it several times that day in my mental preparation. The image was so vivid, I could even picture what I was wearing,” said Yates.

First of all, with your genetic disposition in mind, picture a perfect physical mental image of yourself, and then write down in detail how the image looks. Don’t write anything too far fetched, – be objective. Write down how you would like to have your abs look like, – are they deep, muscular, toned, complete with obliques and intercostals? How do the biceps look? Would they be peaked and sharp or longer but thick and bulky? Your genetic heritage and mental image should predetermine how these will appear with the help of an impeccable nutrition and training regime in place. Another good idea is to look through your copies of bodybuilding magazines and locate an athlete whose physique you admire and feel that you would like to physically mimic. Cut that picture out and place it somewhere where you are reminded of your goal on a frequent basis.

Before you leave your home or workplace for the gym, try to focus on the body part you are about to train. Picture how you are going to attack your workout and whether it may be a heavy day or a higher repetition day. Prioritize your weak points at the beginning of your workout and predetermine what exercises you will do on that day. If you feel that you are lacking motivation, enhance the feeling of embarrassment and failure on a bodybuilding stage in front family and friends, all because you didn’t give your all on that day. This will help you dig down deep and prevent this occurrence ever happening by having a harder workout. Take some time to sit in your car before you walk into the gym and enhance the feeling of adrenaline that comes with victory, clear your mind and focus on the job in hand.

Endorphins are “feel good” drugs that are naturally produced within your body, and these little magical friends can work wonders towards your physical capability if you can tap into them. Mixing the potion of endorphins and adrenaline is the real key to breaking past barriers and reaching personal bests in and out of the gym. Power lifters use this combination to break records all of the time.

Different people have motivational factors and it is up to you to find which unlocks the key to your enhanced feeling of euphoria. Some people look at bodybuilding magazines, pictures and/or posters upon the gym wall for their source of inspiration, whilst others use high energy music to get the adrenaline surge needed to push out that extra rep. Sometimes mental imaginary of the muscle’s anatomy can get you to where you want to go. Whatever it may be that works for you, tap into it and maintain that focus for your time in the gym.

One of the main things that you need to do when you are working out is to focus on the muscle you are working. Use the mirror, not to look at you hair or blemishes, but to see the muscle working, filling with blood and molding to the shape you have longed for.

Champion bodybuilder and former Master Olympian Robby Robinson constantly focuses on how he wants to look onstage when he is training. You can hear him say “side chest, most muscular” when he is completing a set of flyes, and “rear double bicep, lat spread” when hitting selective back exercises. This may sound extreme and odd to people within the vicinity, but the proof is, it works for him. Find what works for you.

Most gyms are busy so you need to take extra care not to get distracted by people walking by when you are training. IFBB Pro, Ernie Taylor occasionally used to drape a towel over his head so no distractions would come into his vision, besides I think it would scare other members away from approaching him. Place headphones on your ears, even if you aren’t listening to music to avoid people talking to you and interrupting your concentration and focus.

Remember, many people are the masters of nutrition, training or both, but a lot of people choose to ignore the power of what can be accomplished when more attention is paid to the power of the mind. High class business men, inventors and success stories use this much forgotten power. If you want to your physique to look like it resides on a professional, I suggest you use this abundance of power too.

This was originally posted on ProSource.net.

Is Vanity breeding Insanity?

A Today’s quest for fitness is often powered by media based delusions of unattainable perfection. To obtain true optimum fitness, it is imperative to maintain a precise balance of nutrition and exercise.

The big business of pharmaceutical promises ranging from physical perfection to emotional stability has resulted in epidemic of obesity and mental illness. Modern medicine is being diluted into a fascistic enterprise generating huge profits for corrupt politicians. The paradox of big pharm is evident in the overall health conditions of the nation. It’s evident that big pharm has become big business. The ads for prescription medication can be found everywhere from TV to magazines to billboards. The subliminal conditioning of this type of corrupt business has left us with a nation of addicted, unhealthy individuals, desperate for health and beauty.
The pressure of maintaining youth and beauty has taken its toll on the nation. People are desperate to obtain physical perfection. The fine line of vanity and insanity has been crossed. The lack of long term health concerns and the promotion of instant gratification, has driven people to insane attempts for physical excellence.
The principle of building muscle is through proper diet and training, however, logic is being replaced with the shortcuts and cheats (see below), sadly, at the expense of the cheaters health.

The administration of oil injections and steroids are not only distorting the human body, but obviously diluting the human mind as well.

6 Is Vanity breeding Insanity?   5 Is Vanity breeding Insanity?

efha Is Vanity breeding Insanity? nicole bass Is Vanity breeding Insanity?

steroid abuse Is Vanity breeding Insanity?

The seduction of our mind and body through subliminal conditioning and unattainable social standards is causing us to lose precisely what we are seeking: mental and physical health.
We need to step back and re-evaluate the logistics of obtaining and maintaining health. Beauty is as individual as we are. There is no absolute design that applies to everyone. The only way to achieve and maintain our own individual excellence is through proper exercise and nutrition. The strengthening of the mind and body through the application of proper USE is the only way.

Strong Medicine

article 2007 strong medicine 01 Strong MedicineIs one (or more) of your body parts lagging behind the rest of your development? We have cures for eight common bodybuilding maladies, from a weak upper chest to stubborn calves and everything in between.

Paging more muscle. Is there a doctor in the house?

If you’re after a more complete physique, ProSource is here to help in what ails you. We’ve devised exercise prescriptions for numerous problems: Do you have biceps that just won’t peak? Or legs that resemble No. 2 pencils instead of tree trunks? Maybe you want lats that billow out to the sides, or triceps that stand out proudly in horseshoe-shape relief from your arm.

If that describes you, read on, and get the workouts that can help you correct these and other deficiencies. It’s all here — and you don’t even need to idle away your day in a waiting room or don one of those ridiculous hospital gowns. Now go build new muscle mass — stat!

Problem Area #1: Upper Chest
It’s one of the most common ailments among aspiring bodybuilders today: A meaty middle pectoral region topped with sunken upper pecs. Often born from years of overreliance on the flat bench press, what you need is a workout that focuses ample attention on your upper chest, and first up in your workout when your energy and strength are at their highest levels.

Pec Rx Workout

exercise sets reps
Incline Barbell Press 6 15 (warm-up), 12, 10, 10, 8, 5
Incline Dumbbell Press
superset with
3 8-12
Flat-Bench Dumbbell Press 3 8-12
Incline Dumbbell Flye
or
3 10, 10, to failure
Incline Cable Flye 3 10, 10, to failure

Instructions: During the first exercise, pyramid up the weight every set. On the incline and flat-bench dumbbell presses, do as much weight as you can handle for all three sets. For your final exercise, flyes, cables offer the benefit of resistance throughout the range of motion; but in either case, cable or dumbbell, do each rep slowly, strictly and under complete control.


Problem Area #2: Thighs
How many guys do you see with impressive upper bodies and legs that look like stilts? And is one of those guys you’ve seen who suffers from that condition in the mirror? If so, it’s time to split your thigh training in two, so you can focus maximally on your quadriceps and your hamstrings individually. Place both workouts below in your weekly training split, at least one full day apart.

Quadriceps Rx Workout

exercise sets reps
Barbell Squat 6 15, 15, 12, 12, 10, 8
Leg Press 4 10-15
Leg Extensions 4 10/to failure
Dumbbell Walking Lunge 3 10 steps each leg

Instructions: The name of the game on the barbell squat is to go at least parallel on every rep — that is, drop low enough so your thighs are parallel with the floor — and pyramid up the weight set to set. Use a full range of motion on the leg press, going as low as you can without letting your lower back come up from the pad. Do drop sets on all four sets of leg extensions; perform 10 reps with a challenging weight, then drop and rep until failure. Dumbbell walking lunges can be done in a cardio room if your gym doesn’t have a long clear space to walk, or you can do them in a stationary position if you don’t have walking room available. Step deep on each rep.

Hamstrings Rx Workout

exercise sets reps
Romanian Deadlift 5 15, 12, 10, 10, 8
Lying Leg Curl 4 10-15
Standing One-Leg Curl 3 To failure (10-15 reps)

Instructions: Pyramid up the weight set to set on the Romanian dead. Perform the lying leg curl as instructed for the leg extension in the quad workout, using drop sets to failure. The standing leg curl allows you to focus on each leg at a time — push yourself toward failure on these as well.



Problem Areas #3 and #4: Back Width and/or Thickness
While for some gym rats the back is "out of sight, out of mind," hopefully you’re one of those who realize that a thick, wide, powerful back can make all the difference between a wannabe and a true-blue bodybuilder. Whether you need more muscular depth, a wider lat spread, or both, a smart option is to split your back into width and thickness workouts. Some pros will do one in the a.m. and come back in the evening to do the second, but since going to the gym twice isn’t an option for most of us, the plan is just as effective on separate days. You can also pair these workouts with other body parts, but do the back first if it’s a priority for you to improve that area.

Back Width Rx Workout

exercise sets reps
Pull-Up 3-6 50 total
Pulldown To Front 4 12, 10, 8
Straight-Arm Cable Pulldown 3 12
Pull-Up Negatives 2 4-6

Instructions: For the first exercise, pull-ups, you’ll do as many sets as it takes to get 50 reps total. Pyramid up the weight set to set on both pulldowns to front and the straight-arm pulldowns. As for the last exercise, only do these if you’re an advanced-level trainee. For negative pull-ups, a partner supports you at the feet to lift you through the positive portion of the rep, then you let yourself return to a full hanging position as slowly as you can, up to a count of 10 seconds on the way down.

Back Thickness Rx Workout

exercise sets reps
Bent-Over Barbell Row 5 15 (warm up), 12, 10, 10, 6
T-Bar Row 4 10, 10, 8, 6
Seated Wide-Grip Cable Row 3 8-12
One-Arm Dumbbell Row 2 8-12

Instructions: Pyramid up the weight, pushing yourself as hard as you can, on both the bent-over and T-bar rows. For the seated cable row, use a long bar. One-arm dumbbell rows can either be done standing, bracing yourself against the dumbbell rack with one hand, or straddling a bench with one leg up and the other leg on the floor.



Problem Area #5: Rear Delts
Front delts? Check. Wide middle delts? Check. Protruding rear delts? Well, for most bodybuilders, not quite. It’s one of the most common imbalances you’ll see on a physique, front (i.e. anterior) and middle delts overpowering the rear (posterior) portion of the muscle. It’s often because rear delts just don’t get the same level of attention as the rest of the shoulder, especially because pressing moves for chest and delts focus heavily on the anterior and to a lesser degree the middle delt, while the posterior delt is generally only worked adequately with specific moves like bent-over laterals. (You know, the types of exercises you tack on to the end of your delt workout, after you’re energy is spent). To rectify the situation, this complete delt workout moves the rears to the lead position, so they get hammered when you’re still rarin’ to go.

Rear Delt Rx Workout

exercise sets reps
Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raise 6 15 (warm up), 12, 10
Reverse Pec-Deck Flye
or
3 10-12
One-Arm Cable Bent-Over Raise 3 10-12
Seated Smith-Machine Military Press 5 12, 10, 10, 8, 6
EZ-Bar Upright Row 3 10-12
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 3 10-15

Instructions: Start with bent-over raises, working your way up to a challenging weight. Follow these with either the reverse pec deck or bent-over cable raises using a low pulley. On the seated Smith press, pyramid up the weight set to set. For the final two exercises, you can also pyramid up, but power through to get at least 10 reps per set.



Problem Area #6: Triceps
The biceps get all the glory. That’s why gyms are clogged with guys doing barbell curls while their tri’s wither on the vine. However, the triceps is not the muscle you want to ignore if you want big arms — technically it makes up 2/3 of your upper arm, and thus making it bigger can do wonders for your efforts to stretch the tape measure. This workout focuses on stimulating the tri’s with heavy reps and multiple angles.

Triceps Rx Workout

exercise sets reps
Close-Grip Bench Press 4 15 (warm up), 12, 10, 6-8
Incline-Bench EZ-Bar Extension 3 10, 10, 8
Seated Two-Arm Dumbbell Extension 2 10-12
Overhead Rope Extension
superset with
2 10-15
Straight-Bar Cable Pressdown 2 10-15

Instructions: Your goal on the bench is to work up to as heavy a weight as you can handle by the last set. Pyramid up set-to-set on the incline EZ-bar extension (also known as an incline French press) and the seated dumbbell extension. For the finishing superset, you’ll use a rope for the slightly more challenging overhead move, then continue with the slightly easier straight-bar pressdown, which should allow you to really push their triceps to their limits. Be sure to rep to failure on the last superset on both movements.



Problem Area #7: Biceps
It’s a frustration that’s all too common: A biceps muscle that won’t peak, no matter how hard you train it. While the peak is partially a result of your genetics, you can accentuate it not only by challenging your biceps with solid exercises like standing curls, incline bench curls, spider curls and concentration curls, but by how you perform your reps. Take the time to squeeze your biceps hard at the top of each repetition, and work through a full range of motion to thoroughly compel your bi’s to swell.

Biceps Rx Workout

exercise sets reps
Standing Barbell Curl 5 15 (warm up), 12, 10, 10, 8
Incline Dumbbell Curl 3 12, 10, 8
EZ-Bar Spider Curl 3 10, 8, 6-8
Dumbbell Concentration Curl 2 12, 10 (to failure)

Instructions: The standing barbell curl should be completed with no cheating; if you have a tendency to rock your body to finish reps, lean against a pole or sturdy object. On the incline dumbbell curl, do your reps in alternating fashion, and work through a full range of motion to take advantage of the stretch this exercise provides. Spider curls are performed on the flat side of the preacher bench, and can be done at a standing preacher station or a seated one. Be sure to keep your armpits in contact with the top of the bench to help keep the stress on the biceps and avoid the use of leverage and momentum to achieve your reps. You’ll finish with concentration curls, which allow you to focus on each biceps muscle — the last set is to failure, which if you choose your weight right will happen no later than 10 reps in.



Problem Area #8: Calves
Calves are sometimes a victim of too many reps with a relatively light to moderate weight. Your calves are under that sort of stress all day, when you walk around. What they’re not accustomed to is pinpointed, heavy training. Think about it: You hit your other muscle groups with lower reps and heavy weight — the calves are muscles too, and will respond to that same stress. This regimen is meant to be done with moderate reps and extreme weight, and it’s balanced so all angles of your lower leg get ample attention.

Calves Rx Workout

exercise sets reps
Standing Calf Raise 5 20 (warm up), 15, 10, 10, 8-10 (to failure)
Donkey Calf Raise 3 12, 10, 8-10 (to failure)
Seated Calf Raise 4 10, 10, 10, 8-10 (to failure)
Toe Raise 3 20 (to failure on last set)

Instructions: After a warm up, you’ll want to pyramid up the weight for standing calf raises, really challenging yourself on each set, and failing by 10 reps on the final set. You’ll push yourself hard on the donkey calf raise and seated calf raise machines too, going heavy — if you can do more than the reps listed, you’re using too light a weight. Toe raises finish out the workout; for these, you place a plate over the toes of one foot and lift up as high as you can while keeping your heel on the floor. Hammer Strength also makes a small piece of equipment to replicate this, so if your gym has it, you can use that instead.

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