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Switching Up

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 12:05 pm
by Halfbreed
I've been doing cardio for the last month or two before lifting as part of a leaning out cycle, and next month I will be done with this. I have been doing 30-60 minutes a day, five days a week of cardio, and lifting 7 days a week fairly heavy to maintain strength.

Next month I considering going off of the cardio and just lifting again for another 2-3 months, and I wanted to get some ideas as to how dramatically I should change my routine, in terms of reps/weight, if at all.

When I can I've been doing 3 sets, pyramiding 8, 6, 4, doing forced reps after the second rep on the last set. For instance, with preacher curls, I'll do a set of 8 @ 160lbs with no spot, a set of 6 @ 180lbs with no spot, and then a set of 4 @ 200lbs with a spotter helping with forced reps after the second rep until I hit 4.

This is common throughout my entireworkout with the exception of squats, bench, and rows, because there isn't enough weight on the machines that I have access to in order to facilitate low rep numbers. For squats I've been doing it with two guys draped across my shoulders, in sets of 8. I started with two guys that weighed about 180 lbs a piece, and am now doing it with two guys weighing roughly 210 a piece.

Now, when I cycle out of the cardio cycle, should I continue hitting heavy, or shock my muscles and go higher reps, and a little less weight? I'm debating because I would like to keep from letting my muscle memory from playing too large of a factor and hitting a plateau, but at the same time I wonder if I shouldn't keep lifting heavy through this next cycle because it facilitates better muscle gain when one isn't doing cardio.

The last time that I did cardio, I dropped a lot of bodyfat, but I wasn't lifting like I did during this cycle, and I lost strength. This time, I had a drop in body fat that wasn't quite as large as the last time, but my strength and size in some areas are actually greater than they were when I started the cycle, which is what I was shooting for.

Any suggestions/ideas would be appreciated. Keep in mind that I have limited materials and diet control because I am currently incarcerated. We have no free-weights, I usually just use the cables/machines, and do exercises with people standing on bars, or on the machine handles in addition to the plates, or, as in the case of my sqauts, I'll just throw a bunch of heavy guys around to get real-weight type exercises.

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:52 pm
by stuward
Halfbreed, what are you're goals for this next cycle, size, strength, power? You probably should shedule some recovery. I know you have a lot of work capacity but now that you are done with the leaning out, you will have to manage your recovery in order to make gains.


Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:31 pm
by Halfbreed
My intentions in the beggining were to cycle for leaning out and then to go for size the next session. I know that generally I should lift heavier for size/strength gains and eat quite a bit, but I'm not sure if 6 months on the same general lifting schedule is too long....that is, if it will cause a plateau due to muscle memory.

Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 4:56 pm
by stuward
You're right that 6 months is too long to do the same thing. From your previous posts I see that you have a basic universal stack weight machine and no access to free weights.

Since you're looking for size, you know that you need a certain amount of volume to get that effect. You don't have to go super heavy weights. Since you're limited in the amount of weight you can do, try doing something like 10x10s or something to that effect.

Elsewhere on this forum Ironman mentioned that he was looking at a Chad Waterbury influenced workout. That got me looking at it.

Chad Waterbury's high frequency training may be interesting to you as well. I don't know if you can get T-nation or not but he has some interesting ideas. Basically 3-4 exercises per workout, lots of sets, few reps early in the week, increasing reps and reducing sets as the week progresses, repeating the same body parts every day. He suggests 3, 6 and then 9 reps per set. Then take a relatively long break to recover and let the body rebuild. In one article he talks about 10 days on, 5 off, in another, its 3 or 4 days through the week with the weekend off. He recommends alternating asymmetrical lifts with symmetrical lifts and alternating quad/ham dominant and push/pull dominant exercises so that you don't repeat the same exercises right away. Also include at least 1 day per micro-cycle of body weight exercises.

I know I'm probably paraphrasing and leaving out stuff but you can probably adapt this to your situation. Chad claims that this builds muscle fast. I plan on trying something like this but I was in the middle of training for a Battle Fitness Test. It's over, I passed and the blisters are starting to go down so I can probably start tomorrow.

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:27 am
by Halfbreed
I'd heard a little reading through some of the other posts about T-nation and the program you talked about, but, no, I don't have access to anything other than some college websites, and for some reason I got lucky and this site is able to come up.

I'd like to know more about the program, it sound interesting...In reference to doing the same exercises every day, I would be doing something like pull-downs/military press, sissy squats/power sqauts, Seated Rows/Flat Bench, preacher curl/triceps pushdowns, pull-ups/handstand pushups? Would these all be in the same day, or spread throughout the week? If I remember correctly there was something said about not running any isolation exercises, but focusing more on power-type exercises that work multiple muscles in each?...I also thought that I remember something said about taking one minute rests in-between each set, running something similar to super setting?...

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:56 am
by Ironman
The reason this site comes up for you is probably because it is a site recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine, in their exercise guidelines.

Not for the forum really, despite the fact that we would like to think that. But for the exercise and muscle directory and all the other good info here.

I'll see about committing a little plagiarism on your behalf. In your private messages though obviously.

Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:53 pm
by Halfbreed

I got the messages, thanks. I'm going to read all of this over, and see how well I can apply it here. I knocked down the time on my cardio after talking to you last time, and I still got good results, better, actually, than I had hoped because I actually gained some strength and size while I cut the bodyfat percentage. The drop in bodyfat wasn't as dramatic as the last time I did it, but I didn't lose the strength either, so I'm pretty happy about it.

The guy that I was working with on the cardio wasn't lifting, and he didn't see results that were as good as mine, while my weightlifting partners, one in particular saw some huge strength gains during this session with the changes that I made. I think that he may have just broken through a plateau, triggered by the changes that I made. for three weeks, he saw 10-20lbs gains each week in his strength numbers. For instance, he started on the preacher curl, curling about 80lbs as a 10RM, and is now at about 110lbs as a 10RM. This was pretty consistent with all of his muscle groups, with the exception of his back and legs, because he busted his knee wrestling with one of the guards here (he was outweighed by about 40lbs.) and didn't work very hard on his back. It was pretty impressive to watch. We were actually doing less reps than that, but as a warm-up we would hit 10 so I was able to gauge his numbers by his 10RM.

Thanks again for the input. I'll let you know how things turn out with this cycle.