One thing I get asked a lot, as I'm sure many men who have been training as long as I am do, is, would you have done anything differently in terms of training?
Sure I would! That's a subject I could elaborate on for a while, but one area that stands out to me is that I wouldn't have trained heavy all the time as I did. I was well aware that many lifters would intentionally have heavy and light days for bodyparts, or would take it easy at times to let joints and connective tissues have a break. But I was far too impatient to get as big as I could, and I truly believed that training heavy was the only way to accomplish that goal.
Looking back, that narrow-minded attitude not only set me up for all the minor and major injuries I would incur over the years, but now I firmly believe that I would be bigger than I am now, or at least I would have reached my current size sooner, had I only explored using more moderate weights and higher reps along with shorter rest periods. Now that I am finally doing that, my pumps are better than ever yet my joints feel better than they have in a long time. The true test will be in the coming months, and let's be real here with respect to my age and how long I've already been training - years. Can I get any bigger? Can I improve any bodyparts with higher reps and shorter rest periods, particularly my arms? That remains to be seen, but I have a really good feeling about it.
The way I am training now mixes those higher-rep sets with some heavy straight sets. It's perfect not only for those who may be dealing with joint or injury issues and can't go as heavy safely at the moment if at all, but also for anyone who wants to get the best results from his or her workouts. Our bodies adapt to whatever we do to them, which is why I feel I missed out on different types of muscle stimulation all these years by turning my nose up at higher reps and stubbornly sticking to sets in the 6-10 range for the most part for upper body, and anywhere from 6-20 reps for legs.
Here are two of my workouts from this past week that you can either get ideas from or try yourself, using whatever similar exercises you prefer or have available to you. Why not try something new? Unless you are currently making sensational progress, you have absolutely nothing to lose and potentially more muscle to gain.
Have a great weekend!
Tuesday, August 13 - Chest and triceps*
Incline dumbbell press
45's x 30/20/16
Note: use 50's next time.
Hammer Strength flat bench press machine
Warm-up: '135' x 12 (I count the machine without weight as 45 pounds on most Hammer machines just to make things easier in terms of writing the weights down)
Sets: 225 x 12, 315 x 6, 315 x 5, cut to 225 x 5, rest 10 seconds, 225 x 5
Precor flye machine
145 x 28, 20, 14
Precor seated lateral raise machine
100 x 30, 20, 14
Note: Use 105 next time.
Dumbbell lateral raise/upright row*
20 x 15/15, 25 x 12/10, 30 x 12/10, 35 x 12/8
*Do one rep of lateral raises, one rep of an upright row.
Hoist overhead press machine
100 x 22, , cut to 80 x 5, rest 45 seconds, 80 x 12
Note: Use less weight next time
*I alternate starting with chest or shoulders from workout to workout. Last time I started with shoulders, as I will next time.
Friday, August 16 - Arms
Precor seated triceps extension machine
55 pounds - 30 reps, rest 45 seconds, 25 reps, raise weight to 60, 16 reps
Note: I will use 60 next time. 55 wasn't quite heavy enough and luckily the Precor machines can be raised in 2.5 and 5-pound increments.
EZ Bar Pullover and press
Warm-up: bar plus 20 pounds x 15 reps
Sets: bar plus 40 x 12, plus 60 x 10, plus 60 x 8
Note: This is an old-school exercise I never even tried, but got the inspiration from seeing Rich Gaspari demonstrate it on his new 'Physique 90' series.
Overhead cable triceps extension
100 x 29, 20, 16 reps
Hammer Strength preacher curl machine
45-pound plate x 25, 16, 12
Note: Next time 40 pounds would be better, allowing me to hit numbers closer to 30/20/15 on the TORQ set before moving back up to 45 once I exceed those.
Bar plus 50 x 12, plus 70 x 8, plus 70 x 6, cut to plus 50 x 6
Incline dumbbell hammer curls
20 x 25, 15, 12
Note: I will use 15's next time, even though I suspect I will go over the 30/20/15 rep scheme.