Tag Archives: bodybuilding

Can’t add any more weight?

Three ways to progress without adding weight to the bar –
 
1: Add Reps
2: Add Sets
3: Reduce Rest
 
We all love lifting more weight, it’s very rewarding, however it’s not always possible and because of that reason we need other ways in which we can keep progressing.
 
Above are three simple adaptations that we will cover.
 
1 – Adding Reps
 
Say you’re doing 5×5 at 60kg, yet you can’t hit the same 5×5 at 62.5kg.
 
Now you can add in fractional plates to your training that weight as little as 0.25kg however if you don’t have those then adding reps will be your best bet.
 
Perhaps you set out to add a rep each session until you are doing 5×7, or perhaps 5×10, the choice is yours, however what you will find is that by adding reps and setting a rep goal you’ll be able to add weight easily once you hit the added reps with ease.
 
2 – Adding Sets
 
Similar to above except the reps stay the same, so 5×5 might end up being 10×5 and so on.
 
You could even choose to combine the two and start off at 5×5, work to 5×7 then add a set and go back to 6×5, build that to 6×7, then on to 7×5 building to 7×7 all the way until you hit 10×7, you get the idea.
 
3 – Reducing Rest
 
This falls in to the category of Density Training with increases Oxygen debt and EPOC, getting the same amount of work done in less time is a great way to not only make progress in terms of strength and lean muscle mass but also stripping fat off.
 
If you’re doing the standard 5×5, the rest might be say 5min, you can easily make a dent by taking it down by 15-30 seconds each session until you’re at just 1min rest between each set. From here you’ve got the choice of adding weight or perhaps even utilising one or both of the methods from above if you’re still finding adding weight a tall order.
 
The three options above are simple and very easy to apply, however it will retire you to stay on the same workout protocol for a while, at least on your main lifts and this can be an arduous task for some people, you’ve been warned.
 
If in the event that you can’t add any more weight, you’ve hit your limit for that move, you can change the exercise to a different variation, so perhaps overhead press turns in to incline press, or incline press in to close grip bench press and so on.
When you stall on a weight drop it by say 5-10% and then utilise the methods above, you won’t regret it.
 
The secret to progress is progress, achieve it in any way you can.
 
Enjoy,
Ross
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2 Reasons the average gym goer doesn’t need to isolate the front deltoid

It’s common place to see people doing front raises in the gym, even though for them it’s essentially a pointless exercise.

I’m not saying it’s a bad exercise, far from it, some top lifters need it as an assistance movement for what ever specific reason, however the average gym goer who has a program heavily biased towards pressing and anterior chain movements DOES NOT need to be doing front raises.

Before we go on let us have a look at some of the exercises that recruit the front deltoid.

  • Presses (pretty much all of them)
  • Bear crawls
  • Planks
  • Sled pushing

The main function of the anterior deltoid is shoulder flexion — lifting your arm up and to the front of your body. So any movement that involves this hits it, make a note.

That’s the first reason you don’t need to isolate this muscle.

The second is because daily life is heavily anterior chain dominant, here is a short list of daily living movements that cause a short/tight/over worked front delt and also high pecs too.

  • Sitting at a desk
  • Eating
  • Driving
  • Playing computer games
  • Putting things on shelves

You get the idea. Life is heavily biased towards overworking what are known as ‘tonic muscles’ of the body and rarely have you stimulating the phasic ones (posterior chain).

For the average person Id recommend having some form of reverse fly in every session and perhaps a lateral raise movement in each pressing session, I can’t remember the exact studies, I apologise, however on average the lateral delt has 2/3 the development of the front and the rear was barely scraping 1/3 of the front delts growth.

You’d also do well to chuck in face pulls, bat wings (isometric holds) and resistance band pull apart drills in your daily life (say 50 pull-aparts per hour and 60 seconds bat wing).

This simple information will help you balance the entire shoulder, it will also help improve your posture and look 100% better, no one likes a round shouldered look, its weak and prone to injury.

Enjoy,

Ross

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5×5 Option No4

Afternoon Guys,

My last couple of posts have been aimed at giving you some different variations of the classic 5×5 that you can use to continue your progress (each good for at least 3 months training), today I will give you one more so that you will have a whole years worth of potential training methods you can apply to the good old 5×5.

In the past I have written about a great strength training system – 5,4,3,2,1 – this can also be a great progression for those working towards a new 5RM. In the original 5×5 you’re meant to warn up to your 5rm and do 5 sets with it. If you really dig to your 5rm I highly doubt you would manage 5×5 with it as it would be to demanding on your CNS leaving you pretty broken. Especially with the 3x power week nature of the program.

Now assuming you’ve been working on 5×5 for a while and have progressed to a point where you might get 2-3×5 out of your 5 buy you can’t seem to get more at your current weight, making a slight change and adding in 5,4,3,2,1 could be just what you need.

The method is simple, you warm up accordingly to your 5rm and do 1 set of 5 then rest. Your second set will be 4, then 3 and so on until you hit 1, that’s the end of your first session. When you come back for number 2 you work would add a 1 rep so your sets would look as follows: 5,5,4,3,2.

The simplicity of adding reps helps your body become better adapted to handle heavier weights, one you hit the 5×5 it’s time to add weight and start again with 5,4,3,2,1.

Your workouts might look like this:

Workout A

SQ 5,4,3,2,1
BP 5,4,3,2,1
Row 5,4,3,2,1

Workout B

SQ 5,5,4,3,2
DL 5,4,3,2,1
OHP 5,4,3,2,1

*Notice the squat has already gone up 1 rep. This is because you do it every time you’re in the gym, if you want to prevent compete burn out on the squat why not have workout B substitute back squat for front squat (FS), that was all your exercises will progress at the same rate.

Workout B

FS 5,4,3,2,1
DL 5,4,3,2,1
OHP 5,4,3,2,1

Boring as this may seem it’s a sure fire way to help you progress and progress.

Use it well.

Enjoy
Ross

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Time Saving 5×5

Evening Guys,

If you find yourself short on time there are plenty of ways you can get a great workout in a very short space of time, keeping with the principle of 5×5 (as spoken about in the most recent post it has the ability to be adapted very easily) you will only need 2 moves in this workout, 1 Compound 1 Isolation, on up to 2 body parts (chest/back, shoulders/lats, Bi’s/Tri’s etc).

The difference you will find with this method is that you will use your 5×5 as a working warm up, meaning the first 4 sets of 5 are working up towards your absolute 5RM, one you hit your 5RM (make sure you feel every rep and can’t possibly squeeze out anymore) progress straight to the isolation exercise and begin to rep out until failure, then drop the weight 10% and keep pushing out reps with good form until you can’t do anymore before you drop the weight again, keep going until there is nothing left.

It will look something like this if you aim to hit 2 body parts:

W/U – Overhead Press 4×5 @ 60,65,70,75
A1 – Overhead Press 1×5 @ 80kg
A2 – Lateral Raise xFail @ (starting at the heaviest weight you can manage for 8-12 reps, once you hit failure drop the weight and go again. Note the reps you achieved and the weights used)

*Minimal rest through warm up, then take 1-2min before working set, no rest after 5rep working set and 10 seconds between drops.

You will be warm from your last exercise but use the 5×5 principle as above for the opposing muscle group.

W/U 2 – Lat Pull Down 4×5 @ 60,65,70,75
B1 – Lat Pull Down 1×5@ 80kg
B2 – Reverse Fly xFail

*The notes above apply here too.

This workout won’t take long to do but it will save you time in the gym, sometimes the best workouts you do don’t require much time.

There you have it, another way you can use 5×5.

Enjoy
Ross

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