My training will, as usual, be based on performing each exercise with the best form possible whilst exerting the maximum stress on the target muscle group. As I have written previously, bodybuilding training is about training hard with plenty of variety and enough volume to create the required response. If you stick to these rules you won’t go far wrong and this format is what I’ll be adhering to. Keep an eye on my videos for examples of how I train as I dislike writing down training programs as there is so much lost in print. 3 sets of 8-12 reps of a particular exercise means nothing. How fast or slow are you performing you reps? Are you actually making the target muscle do the work? Is your range of motion optimal for that exercise? I could go on and on but you get the picture. This is where personal training and seminars come in, correct form can be demonstrated and the subtle ‘tweaks’ here and there can be explained. Watching the videos does help quite a lot but even then certain aspects get lost in translation.
So, if I’m still going to stick to this format – what is going to change in 2013? Plenty. I’ll give you a brief run down on what I’ll be adding to my training this year and my reasons for it and if there’s interest I’ll go into each subject in greater depth in future articles.
1. Foam rolling.
This will be performed before and after each training session. Before a session I’ll use a smooth foam roller on the body part about to be trained this will act as a warm up and basically make everything more pliable so I will be able to perform an exercise with a full range of motion without ‘pulling’ anything. Post training will utilise a ‘rumble’ roller which is much more intense. Again, this will be used on the body part just trained and will act as a deep tissue massage and myofascial release. In other words stretching the fascia around the muscle creating a greater chance for growth. Fascia, is very tough and contrary to current thinking getting a pump during training is not sufficient to stretch it – it needs to be manipulated, and quite aggressively. Not many people can afford sports massage every day and this is where foam rolling comes in.
I used to be extremely flexible as a consequence of many years of karate and as a result I am still a lot more flexible than most bodybuilders. However, I have become lazy in this regard and will stretch after every training session from now on. Notice I said after and not before. Muscles are best stretched when warm – don’t use stretching as a warm up. In conjunction with foam rolling stretching should help loosen the fascia as well as help recovery and contribute to a greater range of motion in subsequent training sessions. I’m convinced that all the stretching I have done in the past has gone a long way in aiding my hamstring development and I want to carry this over to other body parts.
3. High intensity cardio.
Not performed on a piece of dedicated cardio machinery but sledgehammer striking on an old tractor tyre, bag work or sled pushing/pulling. This will be performed in a few different ways but a minute on minute off is the starting point for 7 – 8 rounds three times per week. I am not an endurance athlete; I have no interest in looking like one so I’m not going to train like one! ‘Cardio’ performed in the manner described will be working my anaerobic system but my cardio vascular system will benefit also and to perhaps a greater degree than traditional steady state work that seems to be the norm at the moment. Additionally, my work capacity for my usual workouts will increase allowing me to perform more work in the same time frame and recover faster too.
There you have 3 additions that can be made to go alongside your regular weight training, try them out for yourself!