Critique my program

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KidKurious

Critique my program

Post by KidKurious » Mon May 29, 2006 2:27 pm

I would like some advice on my upperbody program:
Primary Goal: Size
Secondary Goal: Strength

Flat Bench Press (6 sets, 6-8 reps)
Bent-Over BB Row (6 sets, 6-8 reps)
EZ Curl (4 sets, 6-8 reps)
BB Shrug (4 sets, 10-12 reps)

I will alternate between Bent-Over Rows and Chin/Pull-ups every workout.
I will alternate between EZ Curls and BB Curls every workout.

Again, this is not a fullbody workout. It's only the upperbody portion of my split.
Basically, what I was going for was Push/Pull and then focus on isolation exercises on my lagging muscles (traps and biceps).

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks

Ironman

Post by Ironman » Mon May 29, 2006 11:20 pm

On the workout you do pullups, do incline instead of flat bench. On bench it is good to sometimes do dumbbell and sometimes do barbell. Maybe every now and then on the flat workout do declines instead, they do the same as flat but at a different angle.

At least do 3 or 4 sets of lateral raises, that way you get your lateral delts. Anterior and posterior delt work is optional, maybe trade a chest set for a set of overhead press and a back set for a set of real delt rows. Cut the biceps down to 3, make at least one set hammers or reverse grip barbell and do 1 isolation set for triceps. Maybe even do a coule sets of your bent over rows with a supinated grip untill you get your biceps up to speed. A set each of wrist flexation and extension are optional, but would help your forearms. Having your forearms in good shape can help with biceps, as week forearms can hold you back on bicep and back exercises. Week forearms can also hold you back on shrugs since there is grip involved. You may just want to grip and hold heavy dumbbells too.

Do you do any form of deadlift on your lower body routine? If not it's a good idea anyway, but it can help with your grip also.

KidKurious

Post by KidKurious » Mon May 29, 2006 11:35 pm

Thanks

yeah I do deadlifts on my lowerbody days.

Thanks!

JeffD

Post by JeffD » Tue May 30, 2006 9:58 am

Cut the biceps sets by 1 or 2 and add a few sets of a triceps exercise. Working triceps is more important than biceps...weak triceps will hurt your bench.

MattZ

Post by MattZ » Tue May 30, 2006 11:26 am

I agree you should alternate between flat/decline and inline bench presses whether you use dumbbells or a barbell.

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Post by mcalo » Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:18 pm

I'd toss in some shoulder presses too.

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How I'd tweak what you do ...

Post by EdT » Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:40 pm

KidK, here's how I'd tweak this upper body day of yours (excluding warm-ups) ...

Flat Bench Press (4 sets, ~6 reps)
Incline Press (4 sets, ~6 reps)

Bent-Over BB Row (4 sets, ~6 reps)
Weighted Chins (4 sets, ~6 reps)

EZ Curl (4 sets, ~8 reps)
BB Shrug (4 sets, ~8 reps)

6 reps on multi-joint exercises, 8 reps on single-joint exercises. 8 sets per muscle group on large muscles, 4 sets per muscle group on smaller muscles.

Attempt 8 reps on every working set of bench and rows. When you can get 8 reps on all sets, plan to increase weight next workout. Attempt 10 reps on every working set of curls and shrugs. When you can get 10 reps on all sets, plan to increase weight next workout.

Rest more between sets if you want to emphasize strength. Rest less if you want to emphasize size.

Drink a whey protein shake (with twice as many grams of carbs as of protein) within an hour of setting down the last dumb-bell.

Get AT LEAST 7 hours in bed every night (~6 hours of sleep, depending on how fast you fall asleep) -- though 7-8 hours of sleep would be better.

Wait AT LEAST 72 hours before working the same muscle group again (96 hours would be better).

EdT

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Post by Ironman » Tue Jun 06, 2006 9:21 pm

I don't know EdT, that looks like a little much, unless you are in the 70-75% 1RM range. If it is more like 85%, it could work for a while, but I don't think you could gain on that for very long.

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Oh ye of little faith ...

Post by EdT » Wed Jun 07, 2006 12:14 am

Ironman,

You say you don't think it'll work -- yet you don't say why. I could explain "why" my advice would likely work -- could you explain why you think it wouldn't?

Example:
Why early protein-carb shakes would likely "work" ...

... is because muscle protein synthetic rates are hyper-elevated for a couple hours after training. Even glycogen synthesis is elevated for hours. In this crucial anabolic window then, it would be prudent to fuel the body with that which it is hyper-prepared to utilize.

Other examples available upon request.

Ed

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Post by Ironman » Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:48 am

I thought it was obvious. There is only 1 thing "a little much" and "could work for a while" can imply. That would be overtraining. Doing a program like that for a while until you start to overreach can be helpful, but then you have to take it easy for a while. If you are going to do that volume without chemical assistance, it should be a little lighter with straight sets, or should be in pyaramids with fixed reps where you work up from easy sets to a maxed out set at the end.

Your protein-carb example is acurate. However without knowing more information it is hard to know if that is what he needs. for many people bulking, it can be helpful. Say he is trying to bulk real clean, and is prone to putting on weight, maybe a little desensitized to insulin. In that case it wouldn't be a good idea.

Who knows though, maybe this guy is a hyperglycemic with outstanding genetics and excellent recovery abilities. Then maybe your routine is just what he needs.

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We can agree to disagree ...

Post by EdT » Wed Jun 07, 2006 11:30 am

Ironman, this is probably one we'll have to agree to disagree on.

You bring up the great point that we don't know KidK from Adam -- and that that limits our ability to know what training/diet/supplement scheme is best for him. I concede that point to you.

I disagree that this training program is *inherently* over-reaching, especially if 'the Kid' takes 3 full rest days in between similar workouts. The reason that I think it won't overtrain him, is because weight progression is tagged to strength gains (if he doesn't supercompensate and get stronger -- then he doesn't get his target reps -- and he doesn't get to increase in weights).

Of course, you can argue that lighter loads are *necessary* for continued progress (instead of just arguing that heavier loads always overtrain folks), and that argument is a little more difficult to refute. There is probably an extra benefit to adding a *pumping* set at the end -- in terms of size increases. But I maintain the position that the target reps (8 for multi-joint; 10 for single-joint) are right on the money -- a sort of *sweet spot* for strength-size increases.

As to the post-workout shake, I don't agree with you that it *could* be a bad thing -- in terms of fat gain. There was one study where they gave some gals a shake and some gals water after workouts. The gals who got the shake LOST MORE FAT! I hold the position that after workout protein and carbs are universally beneficial. And I agree to disagree on that.

Ed

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Post by Ironman » Wed Jun 07, 2006 1:29 pm

I can agree to disagree. Actually though, I wasn't talking weight in pounds or progression to heavier weight. I was talking about lifting in the neighborhood of 85 or 90% of 1 rep max. Which should be failure in the 6 to 8 rep range like you have in your program. I was saying I think lifting to failure for 6 to 8 sets, will overtrain.

Going to failure for 3 or 4 sets I can see. I can even see doing 10 sets if you're in the 65-75% range, depending on your choice of reps. That's just size though. For strength, going to failure is going to hurt more then help.

That's why I was asking about the load percentage. If you are talking lighter, like 75% or so, and the failure is on an endurance level because of low rest time (like 90 seconds), and not CNS failure from maxing out after full recovery, then I can agree. It's just doing BOTH high % loads AND high volume I disagree with. When I say volume I just mean sets. besides that anything after an hour is a waste anyway.

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Agreement

Post by EdT » Wed Jun 07, 2006 3:44 pm

Ironman,

You really think 8 sets to failure (4 per exercise) is too much? Even with 3 rest days between workouts? Even for big muscle groups like chest and back? I don't think that's too much for an experienced lifter. I used to do more than that (when I was just learning) -- and I made some good gains.

And I do realize that you can get results without going to failure (I've seen it done in studies), but you're dead in the water without progressive overload. The kind of overload prescribed by my "target reps" scheme.

The average person (~50/50 fast-twitch/slow-twitch muscle fibers) will get 6 reps with 85% 1-RM, 8 reps with 80%, and 10 reps with 75% -- the very range of which I spoke (6-10 reps). So the load ranges from 75-85%, the "sweet-spot" for supercompensation.

As to the % loads vs. volume (set #), I'm in stark disagreement with you there. I think that, as % loads increase -- so should set # (and that lower % loads will lead to supercompensation in less total sets). It's kind of like a "time-under-tension" thing. Workout parameters then would look something like this ...

2 sets of 20-30 reps (e.g. abs)

3 sets of 12-15 reps (e.g. calves)

4 sets of 10 reps (e.g. biceps)

6 sets of 8 reps (e.g. shrugs)

8 sets of 6 reps (e.g. bench press)

Though I do agree with you that you've got about an hour to get the work done -- and after that, your backpedalling.

Ed

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Post by Ryan A » Wed Jun 07, 2006 7:50 pm

I dont think I could get 8 reps with 80% to save my life in most lifts where I have a well established 1 rep max.

On a side note, I do agree with Edt on this point.

As load increases (and therefore reps decrease) sets must increase.

this is simply because there is a time required to grow and that time is generally irrespective of how the sets are broken up. It is literally time under tension, hence the phrase.

On the other hand, to aid Ironman's point of view, I do not believe I could recover in 3 days from 8 sets of 6 to failure, if all sets were to failure.

i am not even sure I could do 8 sets to failure without lowering the weight.

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fast-twitch

Post by EdT » Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:37 pm

Ryan, I'll bet you're strong as an ox, but that you tire quickly.

If you can't get 8 reps with 80% of your max -- then you're predominantly fast-twitch muscle fibers. Folks with lots of slow-twitch muscle fibers could get 10-12 with 80% of THEIR max.

FT fibers drop out of muscle contractions about 6-10 seconds in (ST fibers never drop out of a contraction).

Ed

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