Stretching, Flexing and Posing During Workouts

Many times when I am looking for some sort of new edge or flair to spice up my training I routinely look to the great bodybuilders of the 70’s, Golden Era of Bodybuilding. Bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu, Frank Zane, Ed Corney and Lou Ferrigno. They had some of the most amazing physiques and really put bodybuilding on the map. Their amazing intensity and grueling workouts were caught in the documentary “Pumping Iron” (1977) which gave the public an insider look into this fringe sport.

The training techniques of the Golden Era, have been slowly being replaced with the newest and flashiest of supplements and TV ad exercise machines. When I feel my training is beginning to grow a little stale, I will often pop open Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding (1985) and it never fails to show me a new side of training.

Recently, I have discovered the implementation of stretching, flexing and posing between sets of your workout. For example, when you train back, performing some sort of stretch for your lats after each set of pull downs and holding a double bicep pose. That is just one example.

I had skimmed over this technique in Arnold’s book before and never gave it much consideration (something I wish I did in prepping for the 2016 Tahoe Show). It wasn’t until I really began to study Frank Zane and his training techniques that I applied it to my own training. In the article, “The Growth Program, Then and Now – Frank Zane” from his website (www.frankzane.com), Zane discusses his program for growth when training for the Mr. Olympia contest.

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Just to give a little more credit to his name, Zane is one of only three men to have beaten Arnold at the Olympia contest and also holds three Olympia titles of his own! Zane discusses his stretching techniques in saying, “I’d do plenty of stretching with the two-arm lat stretch between sets and take my time before venturing into the next set. My upper back, traps, and spinal erectors got much thicker doing this and my back got wider.” The stretching between sets helps lengthen the muscles, which aids in getting a full contraction for each rep. Fuller contraction for more reps, compounds into better quality sets for more workouts.

Arnold in his encyclopedia, mentions how stretching, specifically the lats can help create a longer sweep of the lats that tie very low into the waistline. When muscles are contracting against accommodating resistance, in this case weight training, muscles can get tight and short. When they tighten up or tacked down, the muscles cannot contract fully and aren’t using the maximum amount of muscle fibers possible. This is why it is common practice to stretch before and after your work out. This pre workout stretching helps prepare the muscles to be used to the best of their ability, while post workout stretching aides in keeping the muscles from cramping up once you are done exercising. Stretching during your workout will assist your muscles to lengthen and grow in size.

arnold-stretching

Here are starting points for stretching between sets in your workout:

  • When stretching between sets, stretch the muscles for 15-30 seconds (per advice from Frank Zane. More information is in the article mentioned above).
  • Keep the mind-muscle connection not only in the contraction, but also in the stretching. Making sure to let the muscles “breathe”. This mind-muscle connection gives you a better feel, and greater control of the muscle.
  • Do not forget to breathe! When doing any kind of stretching, breathe through your nose deep into your diaphragm, and exhale through your mouth slowly. It seems like it would be simple to just breathe, but many times people are breathing incorrectly. Some common breathing faults are breathing shallow into your chest, and breathing too fast and too short. Take long deep breathes, keeping it slow and controlled.

 

One thing I did take from Arnold’s book in my prep for the 2016 Tahoe Show, was flexing and posing between sets. Arnold explains in his book how posing is such a crucial part to competition and successful competitors have all mastered the art and delicacy of posing on stage. Not only is posing crucial to competition, but it can also be a great body weight workout. In his book he mentions how, “… posing and flexing your [muscles] in order to gain full control over the muscles needed to show [them] effectively in competition.” Now for someone who is not looking to dawn the posing trunks and compete, posing and flexing between sets can still be beneficial to your workout.

Although you can train your muscles with weights in an incredibly detailed manner, you still will not be able refine each singular muscle. Training and working out primarily hits the bigger muscles and muscle groups. Muscles like the pec major, latissimus dorsi, glutes, etc. Some of those smaller and more detailed muscles like the serratus and obliques can be carved out more dramatically through posing. When Arnold would train for the Olympia, he would practice his posing for up to four hours a day!

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Arnold describes the benefit of posing as such, “A basic physique is developed by training, but posing adds sharpness and quality… A bodybuilder who trains, but never poses is like an uncut diamond—the quality is there potentially, but it cannot be seen.”

 

When training for the 2016 Tahoe Show, about 5-6 weeks out, I would flex and pose between each set. For example, when I was training chest and back, I would do a most muscular pose and flex as hard as I possibly could for 20-30 seconds, and then do a back double bicep pose or mimic the peak of a seated row movement for another 20-30 seconds. Doing this after every set helped me not only get a way better pump, but also learn how to have better control of my muscles. This posing was a huge help in developing muscular endurance and muscle control. I wish I had been doing this sort of training during the full 18 weeks of prep and not just last five. You live and learn, right?

I hope you find these little morsels from the past to be beneficial in your training. I know that as soon as I began incorporating these techniques into my workouts, the quality of my workouts immediately improved and after a few weeks of consistent posing and flexing, I am seeing some amazing progress. I hope it’s the same for you guys.

Training Update: 9/8/16

Date: 9/8/16Wake time, total hours of sleep: 4:15, 7 hours of sleep

Morning Weight: 158.4

Pre workout & Intraworkout: Pre workout: BPI Vortex 3g/ Intraworkout: 5g creatine, 7g BCAA

Workout Overview: Big 3: Squat, Bench, Deadlift, w/ accessory work. Abs @ night. 

Meal #1: Turkey, Madra’s Lentil Soup, nuts

Snacks: Protein shake with whole milk and heavy whipping cream

Meal #2: Steak, bell pepper, nuts & another protein shake with whole milk and heavy whipping cream

Carb Spike: Banana, almond butter, and milk

Reflection: Weight is slowly but surely getting up there. 

Training Log: 9/7/16

Date: 9/7/16Wake time, total hours of sleep: 4:15, 7 hours of sleep

Morning Weight: 157.2

Pre workout & Intraworkout: Pre workout: BPI Vortex 3g/ Intraworkout: 5g creatine, 7g BCAA

Workout Overview: Front Squat Box Squats, Chest and Back. Abs @ night

Meal #1: Steak, bell pepper, nuts

Snacks: Protein shake with whole milk and heavy whipping cream

Meal #2: Eggs, turkey bacon, nuts

Carb Spike: Banana, almond butter

Reflection: Good day of training. Incorporate stretching specific muscles between sets. Will post an article regarding stretching in your workout on Wednesday, 9/14/16

Post Tahoe Show 2016 Reflection

It’s been nearly two weeks since I stepped off the stage in Lake Tahoe, NV. With the show being a thing of the past, I can now take a step back and analyze the amazing and refreshing experience.

Friday:

As we were driving up to Lake Tahoe, NV I spent my time in the car to relax and not let my nerves act up. Once we got there we checked into the hotel and realized I forgot my NPC card at home (my mistake).

After scrambling with the computer in the business center of the hotel to print it out, I left to head to the male athlete briefing and registration. As soon as I walked in the door I was immediately thinking back to those classic scenes of “Pumping Iron” where enormous (at least from my point of view) muscle bound artists walk around with their Tupperware and chicken breast.

I still kept my 14-16 hour fast period, and added in carbs in the form of vegetables after spending the last 6 days with completely no carbs. I will say my body felt a lot better with the addition of carbs.

I tend to get nervous before competition and I could feel my stomach crawling up my esophagus. Even when I was filling out the liability form, my hand writing went to crap due to some slight shakes.

Once I was chilled out and registered and going back up to the room for some chicken, it was time to get my tan. I will just say I did not expect to look like Robert Downey Jr. In “Tropic Thunder”. It was pretty comical to have such a starkly different skin tone in 20 minutes.

After my tan I realized that my big sweats would help keep the tan off everything I touched, but the short sleeve shirt would not. 30 bucks later I had a big long sleeve shirt which would help prevent any smearing and getting orange on everything.

The last meal of the day included a banana, and several spoon fills of almond butter. Not so much that I had a overly full stomach, but just enough to fill me up. My water in the morning till lunch time was normal, after lunch I just cut my normal water intake by half. The end of the evening concluded rest and lots of sleep.

Saturday Morning:

After a less than decent night’s sleep, it was time to start the carb up process. The carb up process is a tactic a lot of body builders use to fill their muscles with glycogen which in turn will give them a more fuller look.

The carb up process consisted of 10 Oreos right when I woke up and 10 more about an hour before I went on stage for prejudging. While I was waiting during prejudging I had some more chicken and a bell pepper to stay fueled and ready to pose.

The ladies went first, each striving to display figure as well as finesse followed by the men to show physique and power. I decided to go back stage several classes before mine to prepare and pump up. Little did I know that when i got back stage a loud female voice yelled, “We’re skipping intermission! Men’s Physique you’re up next!” My heart raced and I was freaking out. I quickly changed into my posing trunks and grabbed my band trying to pump up as quickly as possible with out getting out of breath. Thankfully the rest of the competition was in the same frenzy as I. When the super heavyweight bodybuilders filed off stage, I was filed in line behind the curtain praying that I would just hit my first pose smoothly with any noticeable rookie mistakes.

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I said a short prayer before I walked out and turned on the “x” made in masking tape to proceed to the next “x” in front of the judges. I hit my front pose, and nerves disappeared. On to my back pose, then to my second front pose, and off to the side. I maintained composure and the best posing i could while the other competitors displayed their physique before the judges.

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The time for first call outs came and my heart was relieved and thoroughly excited when they said they wanted to see me, #223. I went out for comparisons and when the judges said we could exit the stage, I knew I was hooked. All the workouts, early mornings, skipped cheat meals, and going to bed early paid off in an amazing experience which I am thirsty to have again.

Saturday Evening: The Night Show

After spending time with my family as well as my girlfriend and her family, it was time to return to the hotel for the night show. Things were moving along quickly. Competitors would come out, hit one pose, receive their medals and then file off to enjoy the donuts provided by the promoter backstage. Now it was time for the physique competitors and bodybuilders to all perform their posing routine… After probably 30 routines deep I was ready to leave. I was hungry, anxious, and wanting the anticipation to be over. It reminded me of what is was like to have one more wrestling match for the tournament and having to wait sometimes an hour and 45 minutes before you step onto the mat. The anticipation for the big hurrah sometimes can be mind numbing and progressively lethal.

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After upwards of 30 more posing routines, I went back stage to pump up. Properly this time. I grabbed my band, tucked my self in a corning dodging more neon workout bands, and dumbbells. The wait seemed like forever for my class to be called, but in due time it was finally called for. I was back behind the same curtain I was during the morning prejudging. This time the nerves were gone and I could distinctly hear the crowd and the music. The facilitator in back told me i was good to go and I walked and turned on that first “X”. It was at that moment I knew I was hooked and already wanted to start training for another show. I took third place in my class, and was so thankful for that awesome experience. The support from all my friends and family was such a huge part of that experience. People to wait out the long prejudging night show and travel with me was something incredibly special, so thank you Mom, Dad, Rilee, Caleb, Burke, and Angel.

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I know i have a lot to work on, but I am so incredibly excited to build up those weaknesses and step on stage again. Training for next year begins now.

Personal Training Update: 9/5/16

Date: 9/5/16Wake time, total hours of sleep: 4:15 am/ 7 hours 

Morning Weight: 159.4

Pre workout & Intraworkout: BPI Vortext: 3g/ 5g Creatine, 7g BCAA

Workout Overview: Big 3 Training (Squat, Bench, Deadlift) + Extra back strength work

Meal #1: Chicken, Madra’s Lentil Soup, Almonds

Snacks: Protein shake

Meal #2: Chicken, 1 bell pepper, mixed nuts

Carb Spike: 1/2 banana, strawberries, peanut butter and milk

Reflection: Good day of training, good day of diet. Probably could have had another shake somewhere today just for the extra calories. 

  

  

  

Preseason Wrestling Conditioning Workouts (2.0)

This is a 4 week trainer. You will perform these workouts for 4 weeks and then change up the workouts to keep the body guessing.

 

Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday:
a. Zercher Squat: Heavy set of 3 a. 3 rounds: 2 min rest b/w rounds. Try to beat your score each round. a. Recovery a. KB/DB Front Squat: 3×8
b. Superset 6 min AMRAP 20-30 mins of light cardio work. Run, Rower, Bike, etc. b. 1 arm KB/DB Strict Press: 3×5
c. Superset: Min. 1: Max squat jumps c. Superset:
Rear Leg Elevated Split Squat: 3×10-12 reps each leg Min. 2: Max DB Clean & Press (light weight, go for reps) Rope Climbs/Towel Pull Ups: 3×2-4 ascents/3×12-15
Box Jumps: 3×8 Min 3: Max Handstand Push Ups or Push Ups Man Makers: 3×10
d. Superset: Min. 4: Max Overhead Plate Hold Lunge Steps or Jumping Lunges d. Superset:
Glute Bridges/GHR: 4×10-20 reps Min. 5: Max Pull Ups Pick 1 Bicep exercise: 4×20
Toes to Bar: 4×10-20 reps Min. 6: Max Burpees Pick 1 Tricep Exercise: 4×20
f. 400m lunges
Friday: Saturday: Sunday: (optional)
a. Sled Sprints or Row: “Angie” a. Mobility
10 Rounds: 1:1 Work/Rest Ratio For time: b. Abs.
100 Pull Ups c. Light cardio
100 Push Ups
100 Sit Ups
100 Air Squats

Preseason Wrestling Conditioning Workouts 1.0

This is an 8 week training block that emphasizes a increase in overall strength. A good program to follow during the summer between collegiate wrestling seasons.

Week 1 Week 1
Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday: (optional)
a. Goblet Squat or FS: 5RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. Goblet Squat or FS: 3RM w/ pause (w/ belt) from the floor a. Zercher Squats: 1RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. BS (no belt) 12RM a. FS or BS w/ pause 1RM a. OHS 1RM a. Mobility
b. Deficit Conventional DL: 1RM b. DB Flat Bench w/ feet up (Pyramid reps): 15,8,8,6,6,4,4,2 b. 400m lunges b. 5 mins of lunges as fast as possible b. Arnld Press: 12,10,8,6,4 b. Sled drags+ carrys b. Abs.
c. Superset: Row c. Incline DB Bench: reps of 10,8,6 c. Pick 1 sled workout c. Triset: Posterior Chain c. Superset:Arms c. Fun Pump Work c. Light cardio
1 Arm DB Row: 5×12 d. Superset: Stretch d. Pick 1 carry workout Leg Curls: 5×12 Close Grip Bench/ Heavy BB Skulls: 5×12 d. Mobility
Bent Over Barbell Rows: 5×12 DB Chest Flys: 5×20 GHD/Low Back Ext.:5×8-15 Cheat Curls: 5×12
d. Rear Delt Flys: 6×12 Side Lying Lateral Raises: 5×20 Ab Wheels: 5×10-20 d. Triset: Shoulders and Arms
e. Superset: Posterior Chain e. Triset: Triceps d. 400m lunges DB Upright Rows: 5×12
GHD/Leg curls: 4×5-12 Dips of any kind: 4×5-20 DB Strict Press: 5×12
Ab Wheels: 4×10 DB Skull Crushers: 4×20 1 Arm DB Preacher Curls: 5×12
f. 400m lunges BW Skull Crushers: 4×8-10 e. Barbell/DB Shrugs (stripping method, 4-5 drops)
f. 400m lunges f. 400m lunges
g. Triset: Abs g. Triset: Abs
25 Crunches 25 Crunches
10 stritct T2B 10 Strict T2B
25 Weighted Crunches 25 Weighted Crunches
Week 2 Week 2
Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday: (optional)
a. Goblet Squat or FS: 5RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. Goblet Squat or FS: 3RM w/ pause (w/ belt) from the floor a. Zercher Squats: 1RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. BS (no belt) 3RM a. FS or BS w/ pause 1RM a. OHS 1RM a. Mobility
b. Deficit Conventional DL: 1RM b. DB Flat Bench w/ feet up (Pyramid reps): 15,5,5,5,3,3,3 b. 400m lunges b. 8 mins of lunges as fast as possible b. Behind the Neck Press: 15,5,5,5,3,3,3 b. Sled drags+ carrys b. Abs.
c. Superset: Row c. Incline DB Bench: reps of 10,8,6 c. Pick 1 sled workout c. Triset: Posterior Chain c. Superset:Arms c. Fun Pump Work c. Light cardio
1 Arm DB Row: 5×8 d. Superset: Stretch d. Pick 1 carry workout Leg Curls: 5×12 Close Grip Bench/ Heavy BB Skulls: 5×12 d. Mobility
Decline Ring Rows: 5×8 DB Chest Flys: 5×12 GHD/Low Back Ext.:5×8-15 Cheat Curls: 5×12
d. Rear Delt Flys: 6×8 Side Lying Lateral Raises: 5×12 Ab Wheels: 5×10-20 d. Triset: Shoulders and Arms
e. Superset: Posterior Chain e. Triset: Triceps d. 400m lunges DB Upright Rows: 5×12
GHD/Leg curls: 4×5-12 Dips of any kind: 4×12 DB Strict Press: 5×12
Ab Wheels: 4×10 DB Skull Crushers: 4×12 1 Arm DB Preacher Curls: 5×12
f. 400m lunges BW Skull Crushers: 4×12 e. Barbell/DB Shrugs (stripping method, 4-5 drops)
f. 400m lunges f. 400m lunges
g. Triset: Abs g. Triset: Abs
25 Crunches 25 Crunches
10 stritct T2B 10 Strict T2B
25 Weighted Crunches 25 Weighted Crunches
Week 3 Week 3
Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday: (optional)
a. Goblet Squat or FS: 5RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. Goblet Squat or FS: 3RM w/ pause (w/ belt) from the floor a. Zercher Squats: 1RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. BS (no belt) 8RM a. FS or BS w/ pause 1RM a. OHS 1RM a. Mobility
b. Block DL’s: 1RM b. DB Flat Bench w/ feet up (Pyramid reps): 15,5,5,5,3,3,3 b. 400m lunges b. 10 mins of lunges as fast as possible b. Seated Military Press: 6×8 b. Sled drags+ carrys b. Abs.
c. Superset: Row c. Incline DB Bench: reps of 10,8,6 c. Pick 1 sled workout c. Triset: Posterior Chain c. Superset:Arms c. Fun Pump Work c. Light cardio
Bent Over Rows: 5×15 d. Superset: Stretch d. Pick 1 carry workout Leg Curls: 5×12 Close Grip Bench/ Heavy BB Skulls: 5×20 d. Mobility
Decline Ring Rows: 5×15 DB Chest Flys: 5×8 GHD/Low Back Ext.:5×8-15 Cheat Curls: 5×20
d. Rear Delt Flys: 6×15 Side Lying Lateral Raises: 5×8 Ab Wheels: 5×10-20 d. Triset: Shoulders and Arms
e. Superset: Posterior Chain e. Triset: Triceps d. 400m lunges DB Upright Rows: 5×20
GHD/Leg curls: 4×5-12 Dips of any kind: 4×8 DB Strict Press: 5×20
Ab Wheels: 4×10 DB Skull Crushers: 4×8 1 Arm DB Preacher Curls: 5×20
f. 400m lunges BW Skull Crushers: 4×8 e. Barbell/DB Shrugs (stripping method, 4-5 drops)
f. 400m lunges f. 400m lunges
g. Triset: Abs g. Triset: Abs
25 Crunches 25 Crunches
10 stritct T2B 10 Strict T2B
25 Weighted Crunches 25 Weighted Crunches
Week 4 Week 4
Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday: (optional)
a. Goblet Squat or FS: 5RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. Goblet Squat or FS: 3RM w/ pause (w/ belt) from the floor a. Zercher Squats: 1RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. BS (no belt) 5RM a. FS or BS w/ pause 1RM a. OHS 1RM a. Mobility
b. Sumo DL’s: 1RM b. DB Flat Bench w/ feet up (Pyramid reps): 15,12,10,8,5,3 b. 400m lunges b. 10 mins of lunges as fast as possible (w/ vest or +5mins) b. Arnold Press: 1×15, 5×8 b. Sled drags+ carrys b. Abs.
c. Superset: Row c. Incline DB Bench: reps of 10,8,6 c. Pick 1 sled workout c. Triset: Posterior Chain c. Superset:Arms c. Fun Pump Work c. Light cardio
Bent Over Rows: 5×6 d. Superset: Stretch d. Pick 1 carry workout Leg Curls: 5×12 Close Grip Bench/ Heavy BB Skulls: 5×8 d. Mobility
1 Arm Rows: 5×6 DB Chest Flys: 5×20 GHD/Low Back Ext.:5×8-15 Cheat Curls: 5×8
d. Rear Delt Flys: 6×6 Side Lying Lateral Raises: 5×20 Ab Wheels: 5×10-20 d. Triset: Shoulders and Arms
e. Superset: Posterior Chain e. Triset: Triceps d. 400m lunges DB Upright Rows: 5×8
GHD/Leg curls: 4×5-12 Dips of any kind: 4×20 DB Strict Press: 5×8
Ab Wheels: 4×10 DB Skull Crushers: 4×20 1 Arm DB Preacher Curls: 5×8
f. 400m lunges BW Skull Crushers: 4×20 e. Barbell/DB Shrugs (stripping method, 4-5 drops)
f. 400m lunges f. 400m lunges
g. Triset: Abs g. Triset: Abs
25 Crunches 25 Crunches
10 stritct T2B 10 Strict T2B
25 Weighted Crunches 25 Weighted Crunches
Week 5:Take a rest week if needed to recover and relax. Spend time lifting lighter weights, and mobilizing. Rest is important and shouldn’t be over looked.
Week 6 Week 6
Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday: (optional)
a. Goblet Squat or FS: 5RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. Goblet Squat or FS: 3RM w/ pause (w/ belt) from the floor a. Zercher Squats: 1RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. BS (no belt) 12RM a. FS or BS w/ pause 1RM a. OHS 1RM a. Mobility
b. Deficit Conventional DL: 1RM b. DB Flat Bench w/ feet up (Pyramid reps): 15,8,8,6,6,4,4,2 b. 400m lunges b. 5 mins of lunges as fast as possible b. Arnld Press: 12,10,8,6,4 b. Sled drags+ carrys b. Abs.
c. Superset: Row c. Incline DB Bench: reps of 10,8,6 c. Pick 1 sled workout c. Triset: Posterior Chain c. Superset:Arms c. Fun Pump Work c. Light cardio
1 Arm DB Row: 5×12 d. Superset: Stretch d. Pick 1 carry workout Leg Curls: 5×12 Close Grip Bench/ Heavy BB Skulls: 5×12 d. Mobility
Bent Over Barbell Rows: 5×12 DB Chest Flys: 5×20 GHD/Low Back Ext.:5×8-15 Cheat Curls: 5×12
d. Rear Delt Flys: 6×12 Side Lying Lateral Raises: 5×20 Ab Wheels: 5×10-20 d. Triset: Shoulders and Arms
e. Superset: Posterior Chain e. Triset: Triceps d. 400m lunges DB Upright Rows: 5×12
GHD/Leg curls: 4×5-12 Dips of any kind: 4×5-20 DB Strict Press: 5×12
Ab Wheels: 4×10 DB Skull Crushers: 4×20 1 Arm DB Preacher Curls: 5×12
f. 400m lunges BW Skull Crushers: 4×8-10 e. Barbell/DB Shrugs (stripping method, 4-5 drops)
f. 400m lunges f. 400m lunges
g. Triset: Abs g. Triset: Abs
25 Crunches 25 Crunches
10 stritct T2B 10 Strict T2B
25 Weighted Crunches 25 Weighted Crunches
Week 7 Week 7
Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday: (optional)
a. Goblet Squat or FS: 5RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. Goblet Squat or FS: 3RM w/ pause (w/ belt) from the floor a. Zercher Squats: 1RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. BS (no belt) 3RM a. FS or BS w/ pause 1RM a. OHS 1RM a. Mobility
b. Deficit Conventional DL: 1RM b. DB Flat Bench w/ feet up (Pyramid reps): 15,5,5,5,3,3,3 b. 400m lunges b. 8 mins of lunges as fast as possible b. Behind the Neck Press: 15,5,5,5,3,3,3 b. Sled drags+ carrys b. Abs.
c. Superset: Row c. Incline DB Bench: reps of 10,8,6 c. Pick 1 sled workout c. Triset: Posterior Chain c. Superset:Arms c. Fun Pump Work c. Light cardio
1 Arm DB Row: 5×8 d. Superset: Stretch d. Pick 1 carry workout Leg Curls: 5×12 Close Grip Bench/ Heavy BB Skulls: 5×12 d. Mobility
Decline Ring Rows: 5×8 DB Chest Flys: 5×12 GHD/Low Back Ext.:5×8-15 Cheat Curls: 5×12
d. Rear Delt Flys: 6×8 Side Lying Lateral Raises: 5×12 Ab Wheels: 5×10-20 d. Triset: Shoulders and Arms
e. Superset: Posterior Chain e. Triset: Triceps d. 400m lunges DB Upright Rows: 5×12
GHD/Leg curls: 4×5-12 Dips of any kind: 4×12 DB Strict Press: 5×12
Ab Wheels: 4×10 DB Skull Crushers: 4×12 1 Arm DB Preacher Curls: 5×12
f. 400m lunges BW Skull Crushers: 4×12 e. Barbell/DB Shrugs (stripping method, 4-5 drops)
f. 400m lunges f. 400m lunges
g. Triset: Abs g. Triset: Abs
25 Crunches 25 Crunches
10 stritct T2B 10 Strict T2B
25 Weighted Crunches 25 Weighted Crunches
Week 8 Week 8
Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday: (optional)
a. Goblet Squat or FS: 5RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. Goblet Squat or FS: 3RM w/ pause (w/ belt) from the floor a. Zercher Squats: 1RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. BS (no belt) 8RM a. FS or BS w/ pause 1RM a. OHS 1RM a. Mobility
b. Block DL’s: 1RM b. DB Flat Bench w/ feet up (Pyramid reps): 15,5,5,5,3,3,3 b. 400m lunges b. 10 mins of lunges as fast as possible b. Seated Military Press: 6×8 b. Sled drags+ carrys b. Abs.
c. Superset: Row c. Incline DB Bench: reps of 10,8,6 c. Pick 1 sled workout c. Triset: Posterior Chain c. Superset:Arms c. Fun Pump Work c. Light cardio
Bent Over Rows: 5×15 d. Superset: Stretch d. Pick 1 carry workout Leg Curls: 5×12 Close Grip Bench/ Heavy BB Skulls: 5×20 d. Mobility
Decline Ring Rows: 5×15 DB Chest Flys: 5×8 GHD/Low Back Ext.:5×8-15 Cheat Curls: 5×20
d. Rear Delt Flys: 6×15 Side Lying Lateral Raises: 5×8 Ab Wheels: 5×10-20 d. Triset: Shoulders and Arms
e. Superset: Posterior Chain e. Triset: Triceps d. 400m lunges DB Upright Rows: 5×20
GHD/Leg curls: 4×5-12 Dips of any kind: 4×8 DB Strict Press: 5×20
Ab Wheels: 4×10 DB Skull Crushers: 4×8 1 Arm DB Preacher Curls: 5×20
f. 400m lunges BW Skull Crushers: 4×8 e. Barbell/DB Shrugs (stripping method, 4-5 drops)
f. 400m lunges f. 400m lunges
g. Triset: Abs g. Triset: Abs
25 Crunches 25 Crunches
10 stritct T2B 10 Strict T2B
25 Weighted Crunches 25 Weighted Crunches
Week 9 Week 9
Monday: Tuesday: Wednesday: Thursday: Friday: Saturday: Sunday: (optional)
a. Goblet Squat or FS: 5RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. Goblet Squat or FS: 3RM w/ pause (w/ belt) from the floor a. Zercher Squats: 1RM w/ pause (no belt) from the floor a. BS (no belt) 5RM a. FS or BS w/ pause 1RM a. OHS 1RM a. Mobility
b. Sumo DL’s: 1RM b. DB Flat Bench w/ feet up (Pyramid reps): 15,12,10,8,5,3 b. 400m lunges b. 10 mins of lunges as fast as possible (w/ vest or +5mins) b. Arnold Press: 1×15, 5×8 b. Sled drags+ carrys b. Abs.
c. Superset: Row c. Incline DB Bench: reps of 10,8,6 c. Pick 1 sled workout c. Triset: Posterior Chain c. Superset:Arms c. Fun Pump Work c. Light cardio
Bent Over Rows: 5×6 d. Superset: Stretch d. Pick 1 carry workout Leg Curls: 5×12 Close Grip Bench/ Heavy BB Skulls: 5×8 d. Mobility
1 Arm Rows: 5×6 DB Chest Flys: 5×20 GHD/Low Back Ext.:5×8-15 Cheat Curls: 5×8
d. Rear Delt Flys: 6×6 Side Lying Lateral Raises: 5×20 Ab Wheels: 5×10-20 d. Triset: Shoulders and Arms
e. Superset: Posterior Chain e. Triset: Triceps d. 400m lunges DB Upright Rows: 5×8
GHD/Leg curls: 4×5-12 Dips of any kind: 4×20 DB Strict Press: 5×8
Ab Wheels: 4×10 DB Skull Crushers: 4×20 1 Arm DB Preacher Curls: 5×8
f. 400m lunges BW Skull Crushers: 4×20 e. Barbell/DB Shrugs (stripping method, 4-5 drops)
f. 400m lunges f. 400m lunges
g. Triset: Abs g. Triset: Abs
25 Crunches 25 Crunches
10 stritct T2B 10 Strict T2B
25 Weighted Crunches 25 Weighted Crunches

Why Lunges?

Why Lunges?

If anyone is familiar with my programming or my workouts, you all know I absolutely LOVE walking lunges! Although there is a method to the madness behind all those deep steps and kisses between the ground and your knee, let me give credit to the man who first exposed me to this effective training method. Cory Gregory. I have been following Cory’s programming for my own training for over a year now and since the beginning I have been lunging around the track or down the block in my neighborhood. Cory is formerly one of the founders of the supplement company MusclePharm and now is the co-founder of Activ8 Media, co-host of the Business & Biceps podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud, and the founder of Max Effort Muscle Supplements. He also hosts his own website with all his own programming, articles and videos at corygfitness.com.

Back to the lunges. I have been lunging 400-800m, 4-5 times a week for just about a year now. Lunges have not only helped build up the definition and conditioning in my legs, but also help keep my lower back, knees, and hip joints healthy.

Whats Beneficial About Lunges?

Builds connective tissue strength in the knees and hips.

Walking lunges is a great exercise to keep your knees, hips and lower back healthy. Many people who complain about having lower back pain, more likely than not have a weak posterior chain (your erectors, hips, glutes, and hamstrings). When your posterior chain is weak, your abdominals and the muscle in the front of your trunk need to take over to stabilize your torso. Because they are not as big and powerful as your posterior chain, they tend to get fatigued fairly quickly. When they get fatigued, there are no strong muscles to stabilize your spine, and as a result your spine will fall into a bad position. Bad spinal position more likely than not can cause pain in the lower back.

Lunges are not the end all be all of exercises to build up your posterior chain, but they definitely help build up the glutes and muscles around the hip. Do you ever see those ads for videos on YouTube with titles like “Get a Big Butt Fast Workout”? I can guarantee you some sort of lunge variation is in there. Strengthening the muscles around the hip helps with stability, and will help take the work away from the abdominals.

As far as your knees go, lunging helps build up the musculature in the quads. When the muscles around the knee are strong, the knee can stay in its optimal position. Strong quads, mean strong knees, strong quads and knees mean you can squat with ease with out pain. Squatting with ease and no pain equals strong legs and a strong base, more pain free training sessions more often. The compound effect of lunging consistently helps build durability in your knee joints, and after a hard workout, help get blood flow to the area and promote recovery.

DJ lunge

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson getting his lunges in. Here’s proof that big guys can benefit from these lunges too.

Conditioning in the legs.

All the reps that you put in doing these lunges greatly helps condition your legs. Your legs will grow and be able to handle more work with the extra conditioning. It will provide more stamina in your lower body for more reps and more sets, as well as bring out some more definition in your quads (given your diet is on point). Also, its a great form of cardio. When I was prepping for my first men’s physique show, I didn’t do any form of traditional cardio like running, the stair stepper, etc. It was ALL lunges for 25-30 minutes. This doesn’t work for everyone when prepping for a show or a photo shoot, but it worked like a charm for me.

How much and how often?

A good prescription for walking lunges in this fashion would be as such:

Beginners– If you are new to training, a great starting point would be to set a timer for 10-15 minutes and start lunging. You could do this as a finisher to your leg workout, or on a rest day. As you get better, try to get up to 200-400m of lunges with in the 15 minute time cap.

Intermediate– For intermediate lifters, you can do 400m of lunges 4-5 times a week after your work out, or on your cardio day. Try to get 400m down in around 10 minutes. Once you can consistently get 400m down in 10 minutes or less, its time to change it up.

Advanced– If you’re someone who has been lunging for a while, you have 400m down in 10 minutes and you can crush it after your workout 4-5 times a week, here are some challenges for you.

  • 800m in 30 minutes or less
  • 400m with a weight vest
  • 400 with a weight vest, then 400 bodyweight

 

Conclusion

The variations are endless. Challenge your self in all areas. Time duration, speed, weight or nonweighted, etc. 4-5 times a week for 400-800m is my minimum dose for my self with a few changes here and there to keep it spicy. Lunges can help you build a strong posterior chain, condition your legs, protect your knees, and its a nice alternative to 45 minutes or more on a treadmill.

Now go out to the track, and lunge.