I’m sure you’ve probably noticed that there is a blindingly obvious difference between the body of a heavyweight powerlifter, strongman and that of a bodybuilder?
A typical drug free bodybuilder at competition will have 6% or less bodyfat and will be ripped to shreds. But what you may not also know is that come competition day that same physical adonis will be about as strong as a cup of watered down cheap coffee.
Now a heavyweight powerlifter on the other hand (and there are some exceptions to this rule) will be around 18% plus bodyfat but strong enough to deadlift small countries, squat colonies, and bench press small islands.
But why is that?
Well, with the drug free body builder who focuses on mass during the off season, around 12 weeks before the competition, they undergo strict manipulation of their diet with everything from calorie restriction, to carbohydrate cycling and dehydrating themselves (while at the same time increasing their cardio training, and volume in weight training).
Now I admit that this is a very simplistic overview. But the aim is to reduce bodyfat percentage and the amount of water retention through the body. Thus giving the ripped look.
This comes as a cost. With energy depleted and hormones (chemical messengers that regulate your body’s functions) now operating erratically, the net result is weakness in strength, lack of sexual prowess and mood swings, plus other undesirable effects on the body.
This is not sustainable long term and would have disastrous effects on your health. Which is why they often do not look like that all year round, without taking some form of advanced Performance Enhancing Substances (PES).
Why am I telling you all of this?
Simple really. Know your outcome.
Men, what are you weight training for? Is it to pack on muscle and looked ripped? Or is your focus more on strength development, you want to be able to deadlift small countries and bench press former colonies. Maybe it's to compliment your sport? Or you want to feel better within yourself physically and mentally?
These are all fine and valid goals. The thing is though, that you need to know what your outcome is, what you really want, and what it will do for you.
Put simply, the outcome you want, will in part determine what training method you will use. No point in using a strength training protocol that will not get you ripped like you want, and vice versa. Here's what you need to know.
Weight Training Methods
Below is a chart to help you understand why we use the repetition ranges that we do.
Different stressors to the muscles and tissues of the body result in different adaptations to how the muscle performs and what it looks like.
Other sources have covered it pretty well on how muscles function and how they work. That is outside the scope of this article. I’m just going to show you how to train and why.
In brief a particular rep range will increase strength drastically, while the impact on muscle size will not be as great.
At the other end of the spectrum we will be using, muscle growth will be more pronounced, and our strength gains will be modest in comparison. This commonly known as hypertrophy.
Make sense? (I’m just going to assume you said yes!)
Weight Training Principles
So now that we’ve got that covered, you’re probably wondering which exercises should you be doing.
That’s a good question.
With all the possible movement that the human body is capable of, which weight training exercises will yield the best results?
After all, judging by all the articles churned out every month by fitness magazines, and the amount of training books available, there are literally hundreds of different exercises you can do. Hell, Arnold Schwarzenegger even wrote an encyclopedia about it!
But we won’t need that many. Our training programs will consist of far fewer exercises.
Let me remind you of how to approach this. Our first port of call is to return to principles.
Here are some basic principles that I found have served me well over the years, and here’s a clue, it’s all about movement.
Make Movement Quality Your Priority
The main movement patterns that you want to consider are
If your training program consists of all these movements then you are pretty much set. You are creating a solid strength base, and setting yourself up to be one bad mofo.
Sure you can chuck in other exercises that cover different movement patterns,if they are adding to your strength and wellbeing, but these are just the trimmings, not the main course. Remember to ask yourself:
1) Are they necessary?
2) If I removed them from my training sessions would I still make gains?
Then you will have your answer to see if the exercise is valid or not.
Still reading? Great. In part 2 of Weight Training For Men: What You Need To Know I'll be focusing specifically on the different training protocols that you should be using to get brick house strong, ripped or better at your sport. It will cover how to structure your weight training program, what exercises to do to get real world results, without destroying your body.
In the mean time if you have any questions you get get in touch with me on my facebook page.
Yours in strength and health
You know what they are right?
You may already be familiar with S.M.A.R.T goals, and had some success with them.
And I'm sure if we are honest with ourselves, you would agree that there are times that you've set SMART goals and not followed through, or failed to achieve them.
That's pretty common.
We can set SMART goals, have all the resources available to us, and it fits in with our values and life style, but for some reason we never get out of the starting blocks (or stumble at the first or fifth hurdle)
So what's happening here?
Often when we set SMART goals that we don't follow through, it's probably because we are standing in one of the following 3 positions.
What are they?
This is when we don't believe it's possible to achieve something; there is no hope.
"I could never lift that." or " I could never ask them out." and "I could never stick to that nutrition plan."
This is when we believe that something is possible, but we don't believe that we are personally capable of doing it.
Here's an example, "Sure it's possible to loose 2 stone in 3 months, but I couldn't do it because..[Fill in the blank].
And "Sure it's possible to change careers later in life, but I couldn't possibly do it. Not with my commitments."
Or we may even beleive that it's possible to become a millionaire, but don't think that we could personally do it.
This is when we don't believe we deserve to attain something - we're not worthy of it.
"I don't deserve to be happy." Or "I'm not good enough to be with someone like that." And "I don't deserve to look and feel good about myself."
Can you relate to any of those?
In what way have those positions influenced you when you've attempted to go for your goals?
Maybe deep down you didn't think you deserved to have it?
Perhaps you thought that sure it's possible (afterall others have done it), but if you were honest with yourself you didn't really think you were capable of doing it.
And that's ok.
I know that because at some point in my life I have occupied any or all of those positions.
But I learned that they don't have to stop me.
Remember, a belief is just a thought on steroids. It carries more weight because we've trained it.
So how can we being to tip the balance in our favour and unsettle the root of these positions?
By taking the following steps
Four simple steps. But they can make the world of difference.
I'm switching podcast publishing from Libsyn to Sound Cloud at the moment.
So will be re-releasing earlier episodes, before jumping into the Cj Sends Word "Rebooted" podcast with some outstanding guests and top notch info in the realm of health, personal development, fitness, nutrition, relationships and sexuality.
I'm taking a 360 degree approach.
Check out Episode #1 of the Cj Sends Word podcast. Now on sound cloud.
Reclaim Your Health: What I learned From My Illness
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No doubt you've probably seen this meme before?
(maybe not this exact one, but has the same words on it!)
It got me thinking.
Sometimes you can't go hard. Sometimes you should be knocking your session on the head and going home. It's the smart thing to do.
I'm going to put this bluntly.
Your nutrition and recovery is part of the program.
Yes. I know this may appear remarkably obvious. But in practice, how many of us listen to our bodies before it's too late? I know that I've certainly been guilty of this in the past.
We need to ensure that we pay attention and program for recovery (physical, mental, emotional and our wider life) and nutrition, with the same meticulous detail that we give our exercise selection, reps, and sets range.
If there is one principle that you need to, no, must understand if you are to have any success in your training at all, it is Hans Selye’s principle of General Adaptation Syndrome.
Let me show you how it all fits in.
Back in 1936 Selye observed that there are 3 key phases of a stress response which cause a general adaptation to that stress.
In our case, the stress is the training stimulus. Here are the 3 key phases
1# The Alarm Stage
This is where your body is experiencing a WTF?! moment. The body labels the stressor as a threat or danger to disrupt balance (homeostasis).
A whole cascade of hormones are released, such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol among others.
Metabolic processes occur to produce ATP to fuel the physical activity.
In this alarm stage it is important to note that the stressor must be significant enough to disrupt the current level of balance that the body is used to.
This can be acute (that is within a single training session) or chronic (overload induced over a period of time through various sessions).
Now this is a very simplistic overview, but you get the idea right?
2# The Resistance Stage
The WTF?! moment has now passed. The body initially becomes weaker, as it gets to work repairing, and fortifying itself against a similar stress.
It’s at this stage you will see a slight depression in performance. If you try the same session again you will notice that you cannot lift as heavy, or you may not be able to be lift as quickly.
This is natural. The duration of this depends on several things, including your current level of training
A novice trainee requires less of a stressor to disrupt homeostasis as they are nowhere near their genetic potential. They can often recover from session to session.
As a novice you will often notice that you get stronger, and can add more weight to the bar from session to session. You will see gains more quickly in your training.
A more advance trainee will require a longer or greater stressor, this may not be in a single session but accumulated over time.
These people are your hard gainers, and it may take months or years to add significant weight to their lifts.
The duration of the depression is dependent on your ability to recover. This is in part determined by the following important factors.
3# The Exhaustion Stage
Not a good place to be. It’s like being stuck on the death star in Star Wars as it’s going down - it seemed like a good idea and a cool place to be at the time, but now you regret it.
During this phase the stress has been persistent for too long, and we have not cultivated the right environment for our body to recover.
Perhaps we haven’t slept enough, our nutrition has been crap, we’re stressed to the eyeballs and going too hard at the gym for too long.
You performance becomes erratic, we can often see our numbers drop, immune system becomes weaker and we pick up all kinds of colds, and illnesses. We feel lethargic, the hand brake is on our sex drive and we may even notice a little weight gain or losing our muscle tone.
Plus to top it off, our mood swings are all over the shop like a roller coaster. Now I know that this will probably sound like 90% of you guys out there, but hold tight. You can turn it around.
A few weeks off training, or reducing the load by 50% for a few weeks (1 -2 ) can make a big difference.
Get some good quality food in you, and sleep. Plus figure out a way to manage your life stressors and BOOM!
Give yourself some time and you’ll be back on track in no time at all.
Remember, too many people focus on fitness. While not enough people focus on health.
[NOTE: This article is taken from my Raw Strength eBook. If you found this useful, or want to learn how to make your training more effective, you can download your free copy >>Here<<. You will also get a bonus ebook, Beyond Body Transformations too]