Getting Stronger

I thought I would post some sample workouts. Here is a nice simple one that works the major muscle groups. The emphasis is strength and power.

Do these exercises Mon, Wed and Fri
First do some stretches then do 2 warm up sets for about 12 easy reps.
You will do 4 sets of 5 repetitions for your work sets.

SQUATS - This is the king of all exercises. All upper body power starts from the legs. Swinging a bat , throwing a ball, throwing a punch or wielding a sword all depend on leg power, the arms just follow through. Do squats with the feet wide enough for your hips to comfortable fall through. Try to keep you back straight up. Ideally your chest should be over your hips or slightly leaning forward. It often helps to look up to develop good posture when squating. Squat holding the bar on your back until your thigh bone is parallel to the ground then come back up. This exercise requires technique and you should ask someone at the gym to show you how to do it. This exercise emphasizes the lower body, but it really works the whole body. It impacts the body so strongly that it will speed up your metabolism and you will burn calories faster.

BENCH PRESS - Lay flat on the bench. Bar comes down to the bottom of the chest and then up again. You should place you hands far enough so that your elbow forms a 90 degree angle when the bar reaches your chest . This will work the chest , shoulders and triceps.

BENT OVER ROW - Bend over at the waist, legs apart and bent. Grip the bar so that your elbows make a 90 degree angle when the bar hits your lower chest. Try to arch your back upwards so you can look forward while your stomach is parallel to the ground but your head is looking forward. This will work the large back muscles and the biceps.

SHOULDER PRESS - Use a shoulder bench (chair like). Bring the bar down to the front of your neck and then push it back up. The elbows should make a 90 degree angle when the bar is at your neck. This will work the shoulders and triceps.

CRUNCHES - Lie on your back and come up about 45 degrees. The stomach muscles tie the powerful lower body and upper body together.

RUN - Run once or twice a week for about 15 minutes. This will maintain endurance. You can use a treadmill or an elliptical machine.

BREATH !!!! - Most important for power. You breath IN during the easy part of the exercise, usually when you are lowering the weight. Breath OUT during the hard part of the exercise, usually when you are working against gravity.


so to summarize...
M, W, F
squat 4x5
bench 4x5
bentover row 4x5
shoulder press 4x5
crunches 4 x30


Keep in mind that just as important as the training days are the rest days. When you work out you create minor damage to the muscles with the intention of building them up stronger. On the rest days you do the building. If you never rest, all you do is tearing down. A beginner can hit the same muscle 3 times a week, because he will not have the ability to actually harness 100% of the muscles ability yet. You will find that you are getting stronger from one workout to the next. This is not your muscles getting bigger, this you use just gaining control over the muscles that you already have and making them work harder. After a few months of this you will have to scale back your workouts so you are not over-training.

I am only able to train each muscle group once a week because I am so efficient and able to go 100 % all the time. Here is a more advanced workout.

MON
squats 4x5
leg press 4X8
seated calves 4x10
leg extension 4 x8
leg curl 4x8
abductor 3x10
adductor 3x10


TUES
bench 4x5
incline bench 4x5
dumbbell curls 4x10
reverse curs 4x10
run 10 min
crunches 5x30

FRI
stiff leg deadlift 4x5
bent over row 4x8
lat pull down 4x8
lying triceps. 4x10
tri push down 4x10
wrist curls 4x10
crunches 4x10

SAT
shoulder press 4x5
dumbbell shoulder press 4x8
shrugs 4x10
bent over laterals 4x10
run 20 min
crunches 5x30


I have found that 4 sets of 5 repetitions (4x5) give the best results for strength and power. Once a year I will do 8 reps for 2 repetitions (8x2) for about 6 weeks. This will yield peak strength performance and explosive power. These kind of low rep sets is what Olympic athletes and powerlifters do just before a competition. Unfortunately this type of super intense training can not be kept up for too long. I find it too strainful on the body. But the 4x5 I can do year round with an occasional week off here and there.

These days I am doing a three day split because I am busy at fighter practice the other three days. Bigger muscle groups take more out of you so I do legs alone. This is my favorite routine because it only requires three days. To make this work you need to be at a level where you can push yourself 100% every time. Otherwise it is advisable to spread your workout over more days.

This is what my workout looks like now:

Mon (legs)
Squats 4x6
Dead lifts 4x6
abs 4 x40

The first two exercises take 2 hours. I will typically do 3 warm up sets on squats. 135/225/275 Then I do my work sets 335/335/335/335 Sometimes I will flirt with 365 on the last two sets.

Dead lifts its one warm up with 225 then 315/365/365/365

After each set of 6 reps I am exhausted and I need a 10 minute break to recover 100%. So 8 heavy sets with 10 min breaks, that is about an hour and half.

Wed (Chest & Back)
bench 4X6
incline or dumbbell flys 4x8
Bent over rows 4x6
chin ups 4x10
Calfs 4x10
abbs 4x40

The chest and back is a smaller muscle group then the legs so I can do more in less time. I only need 5 minute breaks between these sets.

Fri (Shoulder & Arms)
Dumbbell shoulder press 4x10
Lying triceps press 4x10
Tri push down 4x10
Dumbbell curls 4x10
Rev curls 4x10
Abs 4x40

On shoulders I take 5 min rests. I use 65 to 75 lb dumbbells and go the full range down to my shoulders. Not that half rep garbage people do to the ears. The rest of the arm work out only requires 2 or 3 minute rests, so I can do a lot in a short period of time. Smaller muscles use up less oxygen and sugar. All three of the workouts take 2 to 2.5 hours depending on how much yapping I do. The bigger muscles take more time.

Mind you a beginner will need less rest between his sets. He does not have the ability to push his muscles 100%. That is why I recommend full body workouts for beginners.

Here is another effective workout I have used. It is kind of a hybrid between the first and second one I posted. It is a bit demanding, hitting the muscle groups twice in one week with a different exercise over 3 days. I can only do this kind of workout for 4 to 6 weeks and then I have to stop before I burn out. A beginner will be able to do it for a longer duration because they are not able to go 100% yet.

MON
Leg Press 4x5
Incline Bench 4x5
Shrugs 4x10
Calf Raises 4x10
Leg Curls 4x10
Adductor / Abductor 4x10
Crunches 4x30

WED
One Arm Dumbell Rows 4x8
Lat Pull Downs 4x10
Lying Triceps. 4x10
Tri Push Downs 4x10
Barbell Curls 4x10
Rev Bar Curls 4x10
Crunches 4x30
Run 20 min

FRI
Squat 4x5
Bench 4x5
Bent Over Row 4x8
Shoulder Press 4x8
Seated Calf Raises 4x10
Wrist Curls 4x10
Crunches 4x30

One of the keys to getting stronger is to pick a weight that requires you to struggle a bit on the last repetition of each set. Have someone spot you for safety, but tell him to give every chance to get the lift on your own. If you complete all the sets with no need of help you should increase the weight next time. It is very important that you progressively increase the weight over time on the key exercises of squat, bench, bent over row, and shoulder press. These compound joint exercises involve the movement of many bones and muscles at the same time. A good deal of coordination is also required. Your strength will increase as you gain better control over your muscles. The size of your muscles will also increase after you get past the initial training period of gaining muscle control. Keep in mind that for the most part the ultimate strength, size and shape of your muscles is limited by your genetics. It is up to you to reach that genetic potential through training.

Weight belt : It is a good idea to use a weight lifting belt for most of the lifts where you are standing up. The weight belt works by pulling the stomach in and compressing it against the spine from the inside of your body. It has the effect of packing your spine in tightly. The width of the back of the belt is of no significance. It is the 2.5 to 3 inches in the front that do the work. Power lifting belts are 4 inches all the way around.

Personal Trainer: Personal trainers can be very useful when you first start working out to teach you some complicated movements like squats. You could learn much the same from making a few friends at the gym and it will not cost you anything. Over the years I have noticed that personal trainers usually train people in the most unconventional manor. They normally tell people that they have some superior training method. This is false. The best methods of training are well documented and are the least complicated. There are different routines listed in many different books and magazines to suit the various fitness goals of people. It is my belief that the true reason that personal trainers train people in unconventional exercises and routines is to keep the client coming back to them. To make this clear, consider the routines I listed above. All you have to do is write them down and you never have to come back to me. A personal trainer will normally mix the exercises and routines from week to week to prevent you from seeing a clear pattern that you can follow on your own. The one benefit of a personal trainer is for those who lack self motivation and need someone to push them.

Food: You have to feed your muscles. Eat at least three well balanced meals. After you workout in particular eat a meal high in protein. Turkey and chicken are high in protein and low in fat. I am not a bodybuilder so I don't go crazy counting calories. I just make sure I eat well.

Questions: You can write me at tsafa@aol.com

Home to Sword Page

SQUATS

BENCH PRESS

SHOULDER PRESS

BENT OVER ROW

 

Strength training for Archery

I have a special exercise that I do to help my archery. It involves pulling a 100 lb cable to the ear, holding it there for 10 seconds, then doing 10 quick reps an then holding it for another 10 seconds in the same form that I use to draw my bow. I do 4 sets like that, each arm. The offhand is on the poll in front of my keeping me from pulling myself into the poll, so there is 100 lbs of pressure on my shoulder and tricept. The angle of the cable is slightly off, but it still concentrates the rear deltoid muscle.

This is what it looks like:

You will notice that the rack is 200 lbs but the leverage of this pulley brings the actual weight pulled to 100 lbs as I have measured.

It is my firm belief that you can not achieve your true strength potential in anyone area unless your whole body is close to that level. You can not strengthen your upper body unless you also strengthen you lower body. Doing heavy squats, benches and rows stresses the whole body in such a way that it increases the rate of metabolic reactions. It also increases your bodies testosterone output. When you go to work your rear deltoid you will impact it more greatly with increased metabolic and testosterone levels.

 

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