"hardgainer" workout

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robertscott
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Post by robertscott » Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:42 pm

some good avice there Chris, you've given me a lot to think about. I'm definitely going to drop the 8 and stick to the good ol' 4 sets -1 warm up and three sets of between 10 and 12.

With regard to what you said about abs, i think that's not a bad idea. My abs have always been pretty good due to my total lack of body fat plus the fact i used to do 500 or so crunches a night. Because of this, i don't think doing 5 minutes of crunches'll really cause any big developments as far as hypertrophy is concerned but it's maybe a good idea due to it being a warm up, and it'll keep the stomach flat and firm anyway.

As I'm no longer going to do 8 sets that gives me more time in the gym so I'm going to add flyes on chest day and dumbell/barbell raises. I don't think i'm going to drop the overhead press though, purely because as lifts go it's one of my favourites

I'll also add the rear lateral raises as i did them before and saw good progress, and having never EVER done leg curls i think now could be a good time to start... I'm guilty or chronically under-developing my hamstrings relative to my quads.

I'll shift my shrugs over to back/pull day. In their place I'm going to put shoulder raises to work my serratus. I have a winged scapula condition and i hear this exercise can go a bit towards correcting it. Not many people do this exercise and i take that to be because it's not hugely effective, but becuase i have so little bodyfat i think developing my serratus is going to look really cool.

thanks again for that info Chris that was really helpful


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Post by Chris_A » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:21 pm

Robert, it seems like you have an excellent plan of attack! When working Abs every workout, especially un-weighted with high rep crunches, you build more endurance than hypertrophy. As such, it makes for a great warm-up while also strengthening your Abs without causing them to balloon up. Abs are one of the few exercises I do with little to no weight and very high reps.

And I’m with you on the serratus anterior. It’s one of my favorite muscles and looks great when properly developed. I used to call the SA the "super-hero muscle" since all the super-heroes in the comics I collected as a kid had ultra chiseled SAs.

The overhead press is a good compound exercise. If you continue to do it, then you may not want to do the BB/DB Raises (an isolation exercise) unless you have particularly weak Anterior Deltoids. The Anterior Delts respond very well to training, and they get a lot of work from the Bench-Press as it is.

Typically, the Anterior Deltoid is the most developed head on most people’s shoulders. So, if you’re doing the Shoulder Press, you don’t really need the Front Raise. Consider swapping them out with each other every so often for a change of pace. This will shock the muscle and ensure steady growth. But definitely make sure to add the side Lateral Raises so that you build up the middle or lateral head of the deltoid.

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Post by Chris_A » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:38 pm

Oh, one other thing Robert. Really try to have a pre-workout “meal” before working out. Preferably, this is a fast digesting shake. It should be about 250 calories with about a 60/40 split on carbs and protein. So about 40g of carbs and 25g of protein. In a pinch, if you don’t have whey protein or some other shake material, then drink 12oz of skim milk. That’s only about 135 calories, but it’s better than nothing. If you like, eat a slice of bread with the milk for a few more calories and you’re good to go.

Try to have this pre-workout “meal” 15 to 30 minutes before you workout. This gives it time to quickly digest and work its magic. Studies have shown that a pre-workout meal will boost glucose and insulin levels thus placing you in an anabolic (grow) state while also blunting the production of the catabolic (tear down) hormone cortisol. This leads to a 19 to 22 % bigger increase in gains!

Here’s a link to one of the studies done.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11905937

robertscott
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Post by robertscott » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:44 pm

I do try and eat properly before a workout, i've started having a whey protein shake (33g of powder which is supposed to equate to 25g of protein made with 200ml whole milk) before (and after) a workout and depending on what time of day it is I'll have a hearty breakfast or a big evening meal. Breakfast would usually be a couple of fried egg sandwiches on wholemeal bread with a couple of pieces of fruit. Evening meal would be 200-500 grams either chicken, turkey or beef with veg and about 100-200 grams of wholewheat pasta usually.

An odd query for you though chris, i heard once that doing loads of reps with no weight for your abs trains them the way a long distance runner trains his legs, and makes them skinny, and not the chunky 6 pack you'd be after. Any truth in this?

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Post by Chris_A » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:59 pm

High reps or long bouts of work like a jog or marathon run is an endurance exercise. This type of work is low intensity and is aerobic work which is where Slow Twitch muscle fibers shine. The rectus abdominis is primarily comprised of slow twitch muscle fibers. Slow twitch fibers are very resistant to hypertrophy. That’s not to say slow twitch fibers can NOT be built up, but it takes considerably more work than it does for fast and intermediate twitch fibers. Luckily, slow twitch fibers are also very resistant to atrophy (breakdown)

With all that being said, it’s obvious the abdominals were designed for long buts of steady work. Which they do as they are constantly at play to maintain your core stability. So, hitting the slow twitch abs with very high reps for a warm-up is somewhat equivalent to getting on the treadmill or bike for high reps (walking or pedaling) to get a warm-up there.

If you want to build up your Abs (make them bigger) then you would opt for lower reps (12-15) with weight. As with all hypertrophic exercise, you would work to volitional failure of the abdominals......which is something you don’t do with light endurance work. Once your Abs are the size you want, you can go back to the endurance style training to maintain that size.

High rep endurance work won’t lead to hypertrophy....and with proper diet and correct low intensity and duration, it will not lead to atrophy either. It sounds like you’ve got a pretty solid diet plan, so stick with it!


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Post by pdellorto » Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:50 pm

I know you say you'd rather look like Bruce Lee than Arnold...but 6' and 140# is really light. I'm fairly skinny, with a small chest and, at best, a more Bruce-than-Arnold look. I'm not that big and I don't seem predisposed to be big, either. But I'm 6'4" and about 185# (193cm / 84 kg). At 4" shorter and 40# heavier, you've got a lot of growing room before you need to worry about getting beefy instead of cut.

Chris_A's suggestion of 3 x 10-12 for size is probably a good one, it's certainly aimed at hypertrophy if that's what you want. My goals tend to be strength before size, which is why I've been so happy with lower reps. But sets of 5 reps seem to be a good compromise too...you get strong, you can pick up big weights on compound lifts like the bench press, squat, deadlift, rows and chinups. I suspect if you're really hoping for that lean-and-hard look of Bruce Lee you'd want to go for strength first, but certainly I read your height and weight and think "He needs to lift and eat!" Remember that Bruce Lee wasn't a big guy, he was around 125-130 (Wikipedia says 160, I seriously doubt that and I've never seen that number elsewhere) and not tall, either. You're a tall guy. You'll need some weight before you can worry about being cut. Mark Rippetoe has a nice line about skinny kids worrying abouting getting a six-pack before they have a cooler to keep it in. :)

I'd caution against Leg Extensions, though, the more recent writings I've seen about them tend to say the strength doesn't transfer and the heavier it gets, the more the knee is put in a bad position. If you're squatting heavy enough and deadlifting, I don't think you need leg extensions. You could always do something like step-ups or lunges if you want more quadriceps work.

Whatever you choose to do, work hard and eat right (and eat a lot). Check the Nutrition sub-forum and check the stickies there for more. Good luck with your lifting!

Peter

robertscott
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Post by robertscott » Thu May 01, 2008 7:48 am

quite right peter i agree there's plenty room for growing. I have a very small frame, 28 inch waist with a 34 inch leg, and i'm hoping that the waist'll stay that size and then building up my back'll give it an awesome V-shape.

I maintain that I'm not looking to get bodybuilder huge but you're right pete there's still the potential for a bit of growing so where's the harm?

Perhaps Bruce Lee was a bit smaller than i really want, maybe more brad pitt in fight club? You get the idea anyway. Not incfredible Hulk huge, more spiderman huge (a comparison i read in another forum).

Cheers.

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Post by pdellorto » Thu May 01, 2008 8:28 am

I think Brad Pitt was pretty small too.

Still, lean and hard is a good thing to aim for...but don't be afraid to eat and train heavy. It's hard to get big, and you can get a lot stronger without getting appreciably larger.

robertscott
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Post by robertscott » Thu May 01, 2008 10:16 am

i completely agree pete, over the last year i've only put on about 7 pounds but my one rep max (calculated using this website) has increased exponentially.

that's what's been motivating me. Although i haven't seen the gains i would like in terms of size, i've gotten much, much stronger. This has given me the motivation i've needed to keep geting my arse down that gym and doing some heavy lifting.

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Post by corless319_ » Thu May 01, 2008 10:44 am

I love hearing things like that robert how much has your bench increased thats awesome. Freaking awesome.

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Post by robertscott » Thu May 01, 2008 11:04 am

about a year ago my 1 rep max would've been about 117lbs on a flat bench (calculated using this website). That's about a set of 10 at 40 kilos being the heaviest I'd go.

Nowadays it's about 249lbs. That's a set of 10 at 85kilos.

The reason I'm saying what I'm lifting in kilos is that's what we use in the UK, i think Americans tend to calculate in lbs, but i could be wrong.

This comes back to what i said earlier, i've not been getting bigger, but i've been getting stronger, which is what it's really all about if you ask me. Having said that putting on a few kilos before summer wouldn't hurt.

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Post by corless319_ » Thu May 01, 2008 11:16 am

You can rep 249 ten times? Or is that your one rep max? I'm not even sure what my one rep max all i know was i did 255 5 times last chest day so. I remember awhile back a one rep max with lift off i got 340. Thats crazy and In another four months I'll max again see where I'm at.

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Post by robertscott » Thu May 01, 2008 11:22 am

249 is my one rep max, calculated, i've never actually tried to lift it.

I usually go to the gym on my own and during the day so there's not often folk around to spot me. I reckon if i had a decent spotter I'd be able to go heavier, but as it stands I'm erring on the side of caution.

Even though i am maybe not lifting as heavy as i could, i think an advantage of this is i have to be VERY comfortable with the weight I'm lifting before i try an increase it, which i think helps with my technique.


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