Tag Archives: hypertrophy
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
- 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
- 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.
It’s safe to say there are some people in the gym who go above and beyond when it comes to pushing through the burn, a true sign of mental toughness.
Density training has humbled many, myself included.
This is a nice little method of training if you’re short on time and have a hectic schedule.
There are several forms of this, the one we are looking it will help enhance the following elements of your fitness:
- Base Strength
- Strength Endurance
- Muscle Mass
- Body Composition (strip fat)
- Mental Strength
Another added benefit is how this style of training will help you save time and even improve your form – I advise you stop a set of form breaks down, even if it fell short, after all, safety comes first and you can always build strength over time, there’s no rush.
Here is what to do:
- Train 2-7 days per week (yep, you can do 7days if you wish, I wouldn’t, but you could)
- Ramp to a top weight and base the density set off of a % of top ramp (50-70% is good) – go lighter than you think at first
- Complete as many reps as possible in the given time limit
- Progression comes in the form of adding weight once you can perform consistent reps without stopping in the time limit
You will be using 5min sets.
Yep, after you’ve warmed up, you do 5min of solid reps with a given exercise, no letting go of the bar, db, kettlebell or kit you’re using, just a brief rest pause in the lockout/rack position.
For this method to work well 2-3 exercise per session are good, any more and you may run into problems. I would also not advise doing this with deadlifts, just train those normally.
Here are some suggestions of movements to use:
- Squat (rest in lock out, goes for front/back squat)
- Press (bench – rest in lockout, overhead – rest in rack position, dips – rest in lockout)
- Pull/Chin Up (rest in dead hang)
- Curls (rest at bottom of curl)
- Farmers Walk/Loaded Carry (good luck finding a rest position that doesn’t involve putting it down)
- Turkish Get Ups – 1 set each arm
The loading will be as above, the time limit will be a nice simple 5min, be sure to note down the reps you achieve. Typically hitting around 35-50 means you’re good to go up in weight, depending on the exercise I’d aim for 50 personally.
The layout of a session might be like this:
- A1 – Ramp on squat to heavy 1-5, drop weight to 60% of top ramp for 1x5min density set
- B1 – Ramp on press to heavy 1-5, drop weight to 60% of top ramp for 1x5min density set
- C1 – Chins 1x5min density set* Optional
Remember to hit the full body over the week of your training.
If you trained 2 days you’d have 3 exercises per day that you can pick from the examples written above.
5min doesn’t seem like a long time, however it will test you both mentally and physically.
There is a reason they say that that less is more.
It might seem counterintuitive in the fitness industry, especially given that to make progress you need to provide your body with a stimulus that forces adaptation and then to keep progressing the stimuli needs to continue too increase.
So that law in itself means you must always do more, right?
From a basic standpoint, yes, but from a longevity and realistic progression one, no.
Have you heard of MED – minimum effective dose – it means doing the least amount you need to ensure progression.
A lot of people tend to opt for the other option known as MRV – maximal recoverable volume – both are similar, yet hammering yourself with the most you can recover from and doing what you need to do to trigger growth/adaptation don’t always go hand in hand, even though they should.
This is because of what we end up doing, which is usually too much because we come from a world where more is considered better, when it’s usually just more.
The fact is is a great many people did what they should and in fact needed to be doing they’d progress faster and have better results, that’s a fact.
Over the years I personally have tried to do too much and as a result spent a long time not really progressing the way I’d hoped. A lack of sufficient recovery lead to sessions being less intense than they should have been, I’m sure you’re guilty of this as well.
Take for example a set of 5, you should be using around 80% of your 1RM for this, I bet you don’t because 80% is a hefty lump and it’s hard, you don’t like working hard, do you….
If you ever look at a typical gym bro (natural or not), they grow, not because they have a special gym routine but because they train as hard as they should each session and force the body to adapt. Well, at least their upper body anyway, legs tend to be forgotten.
Most will train as follows:
– Legs (skipped)
So 4x upper body session per week, these end up as a pushing/pulling format as triceps usually get hit with chest/shoulders and biceps are done on back day and then again on arm day.
Each session will they will give it their all. I can vouch for this 100% because I’ve seen it in person and for all their faults of skipping legs and big compound lifts that are hard and make them look weak because they don’t train them (ego is a fragile thing), what they do train, they train with intensity and a sense of purpose so fierce it’s frightening.
A limiting factor for many is time, so the time they have they use well, going to the point that many won’t, thats the secret to their success.
The better ones usually have good form as well.
The successful ones do what they need to do, not more. It’s the ones who try to do too much that don’t progress because they think more is better and it’s not, it’s just more.
What can you learn from the basic gym bro?
– Lift to the point just short of failure (keeping a couple of reps in the bag before form goes)
– Lift as heavy as weight as your body will allow with good form
– Intensity, Intensity, Intensity
– Rest is important
– Be willing to go in to places mentally that others won’t, you’ll need strength when things get tough
When it comes to my personal results, the best ones came after injury (major knee damage), training wen’t down to 2xpw at the start, then up to three days and I had no choice but to make each one count.
The added rest allowed me to push hard in each session, something I’d not been able to do previously when training more because I was simply faffing about for lack of a better term.
How can you apply this to your training?
– Limit training days 3xper week for example
– Limit training session light 45-115min
– Limit exercises to 3-5 movements
– Limit sets to 3-6
– Set rep goals (25, 50, 100 etc)
– Push sets to the limit
Remember you can do it all, train like you only have some much time and you’ll find you work harder and progress faster because you’re doing what you need to be doing to maximise your session.
Just because it’s less, don’t think it’s easier.