Whatever stage I am at in training there are core principles that I will
Intensity and training to failure - Every workout needs to be of a sufficient
intensity to make a muscle grow. One way to acheive that level is to always
take a set to concentric muscular failure. I don't think there is any
reason in stopping once a particular number of repetitions has been reached.
As the last couple of repetitions of a set are the most productive it
is imperative to make those reps as difficult as possible, to a point
where another repetition using good form is physically impossible. This
way I know I have worked the muscle enough to send the right signals to
make it grow.
Use of advanced techniques - The use of straight sets are one way to
train. However there are certain advanced techniques that can be applied
to benefit different training stages. For example if I am at a stage that
I want to gain mass or strength I would use a technique such as rest -
pause, partial repetitions, negatives or assisted reps. If I want to lose
weight I would implement drop - sets, supersets, extended sets, slo -
mo, pre - exhaust, or giant sets. Further to this I would integrate different
rep speeds, rest periods, hand grips, body positions, rep ranges and exercise
selection as a way to applying intensity.
Using Correct Form - To make the most use of my energy reserves, training
time and recovery ability it is important that every effort is focused
on doing something that benefits growth. if I'm not pushing or pulling
a weight in the most advantageous manner then I am wasting energy doing
something that is of little to no advantage, or worse putting myself in
a position where I could be injured. Therefore I try my utmost to avoid
using momentum and leverage to move a weight and instead focus on using
the muscle to complete an exercise.
Constant tension - Following on from the last point, it is important
to make sure that the muscle is actually working at all times during an
exercise. For this to happen the muscle must be kept taught and under
continous tension throughtout the positive and negative phases of an exercise.
Which means I tense the muscle at the top of the movement and I don't
lock out the joint at the bottom. Occasionaly with a lighter weight I
will lock out just to put the muscle through its full Range Of Motion
Brief and Intense - I don't believe in volume training, for one thing
if you a natural weightlifter you will only have a limited amount of resources
available for recovery. Another fact is that the growth hormone produced
in any workout stops after 45 minutes so any longer than that I feel moves
into overtraining. I prefer to keep intensity levels high by letting my
energy levels dictate the length of the training session. I'd rather complete
several short workouts than train for over an hour as this is counter
Cardiovascular training - Although frequenty workouts especially those
that involve short rest periods will benefit the cardio vascular system,
they are not a substitute. I feel that not only does cardio benefit weight
loss but training this system helps to with breathing during weight lifiting
and helps to extend exercise endurance, strength and stamina.
Constantly changing routines - I change a routine every 6 - 8 weeks
or less even if I think that I am making good progress from a particular
exercise. Training quickly becomes monotonous if I do the same things
all the time and it is important to work a muscle using different exercises
to work all of the muscle fibres.
Working a muscle from all angles - Any particular exercise will work
a muscle overall. Using similar exercises will focus on specific areas
of that muscle to develop specific areas of a muscle for example - inner
/ outer biceps, upper / lower pectorals, or any of the multiple muscles
that go to making up a particular muscle.
Progressive Overload - I make a constant to increase the weight on an
exercise where I can. This doesn't mean that I will train using my heaviest
weights all of the time, I would cycle through phases of lifting heavy
then alternating with using lighter weights, but I will conatantly need
to challenge my body to initiate the neccessary stimulus for growth.
Different reps schemes - It is neccessary to employ different repetition
ranges because different types of muscle fibres respond to higher or lower
reps. I would either incorporate different rep ranges in a workout or
use periodisation to move from phases of low and high reps.
Instinctive training - Taking all of the above and years of experience
into account will inevitably mean that I will train by instinct to do
what works for me. I will constantly assess and re - assess all of my
knowledge of training and dieting to focus on developing weaker body parts.