Wed Dec 23: Chesters, “Straight Arm Pullups”!

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Today was a smaller workout due to time constraints. Chest day.


Incline Hammer press 4x
Straight Hammer press 3x
Both followed by pushups for maxing out.

Hanging legs lifts, knee lifts. 3x
Box crunches 2x

Calf Raises 3x
Seated Calves 3x

Did the abs and calves work in between chest exercises for efficiency. The Hanging Leg Lifts are awesome. Try lifting your legs all the way up to the bar by using your lats as well as your entire core. Your body won’t hang vertical the entire time; only until your legs reach around parallel to the floor, then your lats take over and curl your body the rest of the way up. Keep your arms straight—this aint no pullup! Eventually, you’ll be able to do what I call STRAIGHT-ARM PULLUPS.

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Straight Arm Pullups are a super badass version of pullups where you concentrate on ONLY using your lats to lift yourself up, rotating at the shoulders and keeping your body and legs straight. These are fantastic for exploding your lats and giving you that insane V shape on your core. They are also useful for not injuring your biceps by overworking them. They are similar to the “Front Lever” but there seems to be much confusion as to what exactly that is. Web videos have guys holding, while others do what I call “Horizontal Pullups”, and others do some kind of bicep-only horizontal pullup thing. Do them like this guy; straight armed, lats only, straight body, repititions ’til failure. His first example, except, he calls them, “Front Pulls”. Don’t do the second ones he demonstrates; that’s entirely something else.

The gym I go to finally got some better workout music. They used to play classic rock which is NOT  the best music for working out. Great music for smoking out, or shooting up or whatever they did in those times, but it pretty much puts me to sleep! Some of it is ok but during my workouts, I want something that’s going to pump me up! So I was using my Sony wireless earplugs listening to music from my Droid phone. Worked great. But it’s still better to not have to get the phone out, go through the menus, select a track, and have to wear the earplugs. With enough sweat, they eventually slip out.

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12-20-10 Back 10in30: Pullups Madness!

Today was the first day that I had a full, complete workout in exactly two weeks since I had the flu. Nasty, nasty flu it is. during these past two weeks, I only did a minor Chest day that consisted of incline Hammer machine press, reg Hammer press, and pushups, plus Step Mill. On Saturday. However, I also did  a great workout of resistance band curls (many kinds), a ton of pushups including feet up and “perfect pushups”, lat and front delt raises, and tricep extensions. But that’s only 1.5 workouts in two weeks. I had also injured my forearms by using too much weight during forearm rollers and perhaps too many pullups/curls for my inside forearm muscles.

After icing my arms, taking ibuprofen, and resting them muscles for the two weeks, my arms are almost back and I was able to have a great workout again, finally. I went with Back, from the 10 in 30 plan with slight modification.

Uni-Lateral Rows + superset: Pullups + assisted pullups after maxing out on real ones. 3X
Pull downs wide. 3x
hanging leg lifts
Rows narrow 3x
Box Situps
Rows starship fighter 3x
1 set high jumps
1 set squat jumps

Then my calves started to cramp up, so that was the end of that. I did the Unilateral Bentover Rows first, so that I could get maximum results out of them in order to properly pre-exhaust for the pullups. I’m trying a method I learned about for upping your number of pullups. My max is only 12, so I’ll see how it went after 4 Back days doing this pre-exhaust method.

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I think it will have to increase my reps since I maxed out multiple times during each set of pullups.  After doing the uni-lat rows, I immediately jumped on the pullup bar and could only do around 3-4 good ones, then moved to the assisted pullup machine subtracting 80 lbs and maxed out again, this time at around 6-8. Then I raised the weight some more, (lessening the load) to around 100 lbs, and did another 6, then raised it again to 110, and maxed out one more time at around 6 again. Then, after a minute rest, I go back to the next set of uni-lat rows and repeat!

When doing the pullups, I made sure to stop and hold myself at the top and really “crunch” my back muscles and lats, squeezing them tightly for 2-3 seconds before coming back down in a slow, CONTROLLED fashion. Don’t just let your ass drop like a fucking sack of potatoes! Remember that negative resistance actually gives better results than the positive. That’s why some people even do “negs only” sets. Try them with curls sometime or at least do a super slow return—slower even than the 10 in 30 suggested 3 seconds— take around 10 seconds to come back down during your negative. Your arms will burn like mad and you’ll be sore like a mofo again. Miss that feeling, don’t you?

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DECEMBER 14 Merry Christmas!

sprinter

The holidays are here, and this is the time when we eat like piglets and generally let go of our routines. There are always sweets in the office, hot coco, candies, etc. Well, it’s OK to eat some of that stuff, but remember that if you don’t work it off, it’ll STAY IN YOU and turn into fat. Like I’ve said before, you don’t want to appear like the prude that won’t have a little festive food, so have a bite or two but remember that tonight, you’ll have to account for it during your cardio.

If you’re in the 10 in 30 gaining phase and you do happen to eat badly that day, make that an exception to the “virtually no cardio” rule, and RUN using HIIT for that day. This is only to burn off the fat you ate today, so you’ll most likely not be losing weight. To make sure you aren’t burning valuable muscle, run AFTER you do weights, for at least 20 minutes. And, remember that HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training, is better for burning straight fat and keeping muscle than consistent-pace running. In fact, HIIT builds muscle, especially when doing your sprints uphill.

If you’re unfamiliar with HIIT, just look at competitive sprinters; see how buff they are, especially in the legs? Now look at long distance, consistent pace runners like marathoners. See how scrawny, yet fat they look? That’s because their method of running does the opposite of what you want. They are burning muscle which accounts for their low mass and skinny look, yet keeping a high amount of fat, which accounts for their flabby look. WORST OF BOTH WORLDS!
sprinter

Check out my previous blog posts to see what I do when running downhill after the uphill sprints. You don’t want to sprint downhill because it can be dangerous, plus since there is no uphill resistance, you’re cheating yourself. Not to mention, running downhill can mess up your knees and ankles. SO, I have done a rather silly looking style of “running” that prevents me from landing on my heels and instead works out the calves by landing on the balls of my feet. I basically keep my legs pretty straight, and kick them straight up in front of me, landing on the balls of the feet and propelling me up again. Kind-of like a German march on silly pills. And, I lean backward, toward the top of the hill slightly to engage the abs, and then I rotate my torso in sync with my legs. Don’t worry, I don’t do this at the gym. I’ve done it at night, after my workout, on a pretty lonely street by my house, and I usually wait ’til no cars are coming. Yes, it looks that silly. : ) BUT IT WORKS, BIOTCH! And, you feel your calves being worked. This works even better if you’ve done some calf raises right before.

BTW, I prefer to RUN instead of other cardio methods, although I do vary it all the time with the Stepmill or Spin bike. Running has been proven to burn the most fat and when running uphill, you actually work the abs. (info taken from FitnessRX magazine. Highly recommended)

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Get motivated, do a lot, work that body!

pushups

Great week (again)! Monday, the 29th, I had dropped to just under 170 (169), so I decided to eat more calories and do some of the 10 in 30 workouts again. In case you hadn’t read the previous posts, I had already reached my 10 pounds goal, so I am in my fat cutting mode for a while.

Therefore, I did the straight Back workout from the 10 in 30 manual. Fricken great! Felt amazing afterward. You know you get really great workouts with these, and you can feel them. I had been doing a circuit mix for the purpose of fat cutting so I never felt like my muscle were being pushed to the max and were gaining size. Perhaps maintaining, but not necessarily growing. With this Back workout, I clearly felt my back muscles completely worked out. I also saw my biceps trying to burst out of my arms the following days! Kick, ass.

Tuesday, I did Legs again from the 10 in 30 plan. Equally fantastic. Felt awesome going up the stairs at work.

Wednesday, was my mother’s birthday, and I was kind of underslept, so I rested with no workout.

pushups

She's going real high, real deep!

Thursday, I did 100 deep pushups at the gym using two high steps with my feet on a bench. In between sets I did the full NEW Ab workout. I really love PLANK MADNESS. I know it might look funny thrusting your hips up and down, especially during the straight planks but just try them! Do this after all of the other crunches as you should be doing them in order, and tell me how that feels!

Friday is the greatest day of the week; Shoulder Day! Again, straight from the improved 10 in 30 plan. As I write this, it’s actually Saturday and yesterday was Shoulder Day. Today, I can feel my triceps bulging out and my Bi’s are looking fricken great even when I’m not flexing! Not to mention, my forearm muscles are getting quite cut as well. This is mostly do to a new device I created for training the forearms. I did them a few times during the week while driving home. I feel like I’m strumming a guitar with my outer forearms muscles!

Saturday, (today) I did a light Circuit of Smith squats, standing calves, and leg raises on the pullup bar using the ab sleeves. 3 sets. I followed this by a run with 3 hardcore, leave it all behind, take no prisoners, “fuck! my heart’s about to burst” sprints. Sprints were in addition to around 10 minutes of regular running including downhill running on the balls of my feet (not the feet of my balls). I only sprint on an uphill to maximize the intensity, so I have to return by going downhill, right? See how that works? So, since there is little “resistance” going downhill, I resort to kicking my feet straight up like goose-step-running with only the balls of my feet hitting the ground. This strengthens my calves big-time despite looking ridiculous. I also lean back (toward the top of the slight hill) and rotate my upper body left and right in an exaggerated pump motion. This works out my core and yours too. In between sprints, I either jogged lightly or had to walk briskly but began running as soon as I could.

When you sprint while doing HIIT, be sure to USE YOUR ENTIRE BODY. “But how?” asks Biff, the perpetual questionéer.

  • Pump your arms forcefully up in front of you and lift your elbow high all the way back behind you
  • Tighten the hell out of your abs which you’ll have to do anyway if you’re running uphill as you should
  • Lift your knees up high in front of you to engage your lower abs
  • Land with your heel and rock to the ball of your foot which will launch you with great force (calves, baby)
  • Lift your leg high behind you (hamstrings and buttocks muscles)

Got it, Biff? You’re doing well. (pats Biff on the head)

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Changes, Changes!

I have updated the workouts for gaining 10 pounds in 30 days. Don’t worry, not much has changed. I’ve replaced only a few exercises but I did enhance the hell out of Shoulder Day. That happens to be my favorite day because I see the most gains and results.

Monday is Back day which also includes tricep and bicep work. It has 2 tricep exercises and 2 bicep exercises. By the time you get to Friday, it will have been four days since you concentrated on those muscles. Sure, you worked out the triceps on chest day, but only with two exercises, Bench Press and Incline Bench Press. In both of those, your triceps are doing the least of the work. Your pecs and delts take up most of the work unless you use a close grip which we are not using.

Shoulder day previously had some bicep work but no triceps. Now, I added a bunch of triceps exercises in 3 sets of Quadruple Supersets. This way, you really take both muscle groups to their max many times. I did this because of the massive pump I got when I really max out both biceps and triceps during the same workout. Add that to the massive shoulder workout, and your arms will be set for maximum gains. You’ll have that horse shoe shape in your triceps in no time and your shoulders will be able to shine faster when the biceps and triceps are also pulling in opposite directions.

I also reworked Ab day to add better exercises and I removed the ball pass. It was a good follower to crunches but I felt that hanging leg raises were an absolute must as well as what I call “Plank Madness”. Planks are great for working out your obliques, while the leg lifts will blast your bottom ab muscles. You can still do it in about 10 minutes; I just did it last night and when I was done, I could clearly see my individual abs poking through. I did 2 sets.

The last thing I changed was the running on Leg day. It used to be a 20 minutes jog on the incline setting but now, I shortened it to a 10 minute HIIT session. I don’t want to spend another 20 minutes after nearly an hour in the gym. 10 I can handle.

Let me know if you have any questions or if you’ve try this new ab workout or the shoulder day, let me know how you felt!

Cheers!

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