Posts Tagged ‘cardio’

I have been lifting now for almost 25 years, and if I would have to choose the most injured muscle, it would definitely be the shoulders.

Almost every serious lifter has had some type of shoulder/rotator cuff injury in their lifting career.

The worst I ever had was it was in 2007 when I was benching near 355 lbs.  At one point it had gotten so bad that I could barely bench press over 200 lbs.

Even to today, I have to stretch out each shoulder with a 5lb plate for about 10 minutes before I train.

The other issue is that I started to cut out certain excercises; I havent done any type of overhead barbell lift in probably 10 years.

But then I started cutting out dumbbells.

After I cut out dumbbells my shoulders were feeling good, but then some negative effects started.

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A) My bench press has been slacking. Besides not having a spotter, my bench press has been about 20 lbs lower than last year.

B) I look smaller. Shoulders are a giant muscle group to ignore, I noticed I’m not filling up my shirts as much as I used to.

So, around 4 weeks ago, I decided to do shoulder dumbbells again.  I’m stretching out before and after each workout and so far, no pain.

And almost immediately, my bench press has been creaping up again.  Just this week I paused 275 lbs for 3 seconds and lifted it without a spot. If I did a regular “gym” lift I think I would be around the 295 range.

Overall, I am still training for a powerlifting meet next month.  It’s hard to peak in the squats, bench and deadlift at the same time, but I am getting close.

-John Andre

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I have been working out for almost 25 years now!

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Besides lifting weights in the gym, I have also done various powerlifting competitions, running races and during the summer, I do some friendly bodybuilding competition’s among friends.

One issue I have always had a problem with, is trying to peak at the right time.

When it comes to running, I always tend to get burnt out too early. I just dont know how to train moderately. I’m always in a rush to run 3 miles in 18 minutes and I end up training too hard and frequent.

For powerlifting, I either go too hard early and get injured or I dont peak in all 3 lifts for the competition.  I am having that problem this year, it looks like my deadlift is stalling, while my bench press and squats are continuing to climb.

In bodybuilding, it is the opposite. I typically peak too late (labor day), instead of July 4th.  I have been trying to start my diet earlier in the year but I just dont get cut enough in the Spring.

This year I have been training for my first 3 lift (squat, bench, deadlift) competition in over 10 years.

My original goal was to beat my best total from College, around 1,000, and to maybe go over 1,100.

I am also competing raw: no belt, no knee wraps or squat suit and no silly bench shirt.

Where that will affect me the most is in my squat, those knee wraps can assist by 50-100 lbs easy, but I dont care about a medal.  I just want to put on some legitimate size and strength.

The only issue I am having this year, is that I hope I didnt peak too early.

3 weeks ago I I deadlifted 495 lbs and the weights somehow slipped off the bar.

Two week ago I slaughtered 455 x 5 reps and felt like a beast.

Last weak I was so sore in the warmups I could hardly lift 400.

So my plan now, is to unfortunately cut back on the volume in squats and deadlifts.

I’m gonna try to preserve what I have and then run back up to another peak for the Feb 15th competition.

Will it work, I cant say for sure.  I am praying that the hard work I put in will let me peak on contest day.

Wish me luck…

Updates to come soon!

-John Andre

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Yes they can!

And if you are into natural bodybuilding, I would even say they thrive together.

Over the years I have experimented with many different routines including: powerlifting-only workouts in the winter, long-slow cardio outside, moderate bike riding, elliptical/etc.

After years of trial and error, I can say with 100% certainty, that I always looked a lot more cut when I kept up some form of moderate cardio throughout the winter.

This season, I have been running up to 2 miles  after each squat and deadlift workout at a 7 minute mile pace. That is just the right amount of cardio where I can still lift heavy weights but also prevent myself from adding on too much extra bodyfat.

I’ve discovered that by using cardio in moderation, I can still lift heavy weights and even add on muscle size over the winter.

Some people swear by not using any cardio, but I dont think that is healthy at all.

You need “some” form of moderate cardio into your routine. If it is not running or elliptical, you can always play a sport like basketball or tennis.

For myself, the best way to remove body fat has always been heavy weight lifting, along with moderate cardio and intermittent fasting.

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Another important benefit from my moderate cardio routines, is that it prevents stiffness.

When I first started powerlifting in college, I used to get stiff for 5 days after my squat workouts.  Now by running even as little as a mile after my leg workouts, I almost feel like normal the following day.

So overall, dont be afraid to add some cardio into your routine, even if you are bulking up.

If used correctly you will continue to add solid lean muscle and may even prevent soreness from heavy workouts.

-John Andre

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I’m pleased to announce that I plan on doing a powerlifting competition for the first time in about 5 years.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: powerlifting is the best off season workout for bodybuilding.  If you can combine some heavy squats, bench press and deadlifts along with some bodybuilding exercises and moderate cardio; you will have a solid winter.

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I’ve noticed that the summers where I have looked my best I was always lifting heavy, combined with moderate cardio throught the entire winter.

Although I dont expect to set any personal bests this year, I think I can still compete.

For the record, I am competing raw. No belt, no knee wraps and no squat suit.

Powerlifting is sorta a bullshit sport. Everyone cheats in the squats. With a squat suit, belt and knee wraps, I used to rep 400+ like it was nothing.

Now? I want to be in the mid 300s. That’s ass to the ground, no belt or wraps.  So I will definitely lose in the squats, but I am there only to compete with myself.

In the bench, I am looking to hopefully get into the 275 to 315 range.  That is also raw without those cheating bench shirts.

Deadlift (the only lift where you cant cheat) I am trying to reach between 500 to 545. I usually do pretty well in the deadlift and it’s my best lift.

Overall, unlike in the past when I was obsessed with powerlifting,  I am going to use this meet just as motivation to get strong over the winter.

I am still going to use bodybuilding lifts in my weekly routine and I’m even going to continue with the cardio workouts until the 2-3 weeks prior to competition.

So that is my plan this winter. One powerlifting competition in February, then I will slowly start cutting down in the Spring, adding more cardio and getting ripped for the summer.

Updates and training videos coming soon!

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-John Andre

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It’s kind of sad, but I think at my age (almost 40) there are just certain records that I will never beat.

I will never beat my long jump record from college.  That just isn’t happening, I tried it last year and I was about 4 feet off.

I can still grab the rim and jump pretty high but I will never jump as long as I used to.

My bench press record is also going to be tough.

Although i can still muscle my way up to 315 lbs almost every day, it’s going to be tough for me to get past 355.

First of all, I am not willing to gain as much weight. 10 years ago when I bulked up to 205 lbs, I would bench press 315 for an easy 4 reps.

Now at 170 lbs tops and without a steady spotter, it is going to be close to impossible to beat.

For the deadlift and squat, I believe I could beat it.

Yesterday I deadlifted 375 for 10 reps and it felt like a feather.  For me to get back near my record of 585, I will need to start lifting in the mid 400’s for 10 reps, to be honest, it doesnt seem that far off.

I am still able to get my deadlift over 500 almost every year without even training.

For the squats, I feel like I break my “non-equiped” record if I had a consistent spotter.

Running is a mixed bag.

I am definitely slower in the 100, 200 and 400 meters, but I feel stronger in long distance.

I think I could still beat my 5-mile and half-marathon record and maybe have a slight chance to break my 5k record.

But that big question is, am I pushing myself enough?

I have been pretty much injury free for the last several years, so should I start pushing it a little more?

Unfortunately,  I think the answer is “Yes”.

I want to hit some strong numbers in the gym this winter and I want to run faster in the Spring and Summer.

If I dont have any injuries, why not?

It’s time to start going harder…

-John Andre

 

I have to be honest, I think that Arnold is slightly full of shit when he talks about his workouts.

Arnold trained in the “high volume” era of the 1970s and to be honest, that era had most of the most popular physiques in bodybuilding history.

But is not fair to say it’s just from the training, alot of it is from the steroids available at that time.

Whatever they were injecting in the 1970s, seemed to work.

I have read all of Arnold’s training guides and his legendary “several hours a day” workouts.

I tried to follow his workouts in the past and they did not work for me at all. If anything, I started to look worse by copying his routine.

The workouts that worked the best for me have always been heavy powerlifting training along with cardio and intermittent fasting.

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But part of Arnold’s training philosophy does makes sense. If he is training chest twice a week while receiving enough rest and recovery, he will develop faster than someone only working out their chest just once a week.

For myself, I can only work out body parts twice a week if I limit the sets.

The first exercise that I started training twice a week was my chest. I found that if I cut the sets, I would be able to hit it hard twice a week.

My workout now is bench press on Mondays and then I will mix flat and dumbbell press on Thursdays. By only doing one or two heavy sets after warming up, I found that I can train heavy twice a week without getting injured.

The second bodypart I started working out twice is my back.  I add some light high-rep work on Mondays and then I add heavy duty back training on Fridays.

The 3rd and probably the final body part I started working out twice a week is my legs. I am attempting to squat on both Sunday and Wendsday.  Squatting takes a lot out of me, so I am going to see how long I can keep it going.

Overall, although I believe that Arnold was slightly embellishing his true workouts, but there is some validity to his methods.  If you can handle working a bodypart twice a week, then feel free to go for it. You’ll will get in shape much faster if done correctly.

-John Andre

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If you have followed my blog for the last couple years, you would know that I pick a different “weak point” to work on every off-season.

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For example: several years ago I focused mainly on my calves, and now they are one of my best body parts. This past year I actually worked out my back twice a week and unfortunately it still needs some extra work.

This coming winter I plan on killing my legs, specifically, I plan on squatting twice a week.

I tried experimenting with using the leg press for several years and I have discovered that it cannot compare to good old-fashioned squats when it comes to leg development.

Not only have my legs grown tremendously since I started squatting again, but it also adds to my overall body mass.

It’s funny, but when I first started working out I focused mostly on my chest because it was a major weak point. Now as a 39 year old man, my chest has become my best feature.

Bodybuilding is a funny sport, sometimes you can grow in one area very easily and other areas can take you years of experimentation.

Wish me luck.

-John Andre.

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I am not gonna lie, my life is not very exciting right now.

Besides going to work and running a small side business; my life is pretty uneventful.

As of last week, I now have 2 kids under 3 years and now my priorities have changed.

My 30’s started off with a bang; I went to Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day, Spring Break in South Padre, Texas, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Sweden, Estonia, etc.

But now my life is pretty limited: I work, work out and take care of my kids.

But that will change.  I still have a bucket list of trips that I want to accomplish, such as Oktoberfest in Germany, but unfortunately they are on a temporary hold.

If I had to predict, I am around 45% done with my life.

All my grandparents lived to 80 years old and my parents are still alive in their early 70s.

I would “think” I should cruise to at least 80 years old, but nothing is guaranteed in life.

Let’s assume that I am 50% done with my life, how do I want to spend the next 25%?

A)  Accumulate assets rapidly. Right now I am on pace to retire, but I would like to accelerate that. The key for me here would be to be more entrepreneurial.

For starters, we are looking to purchase our first home in the Spring.

B) Eat cleaner. If you eat bad food over an extended number of years, you will get heart disease. I already feel like my workouts are on point, so the only thing left is to eat cleaner.

C) Travel more. Traveling is the key to life and there are so many places I would like to see that I cant even count.

So, what about the final 25% of my life? Age 65+?

A) Be able to do whatever I like without regard to my financials. Definitely considering traveling in an RV.

B) Spend time with my children.

C) Continue with my hobbies and do only what I enjoy.

-John Andre

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Although it was 90 degrees in NYC on Wednesday, the Fall is officially here and it is time to change up my training.

Overall, I had a solid year of training. I got my bench press over 300, my deadlift over 500 and I was running 3 miles in slightly under 21 minutes.

For this coming year, I want to make two necessary adjustments:

A) I need to do cardio all year round. I dont need to go crazy in the winter,  but I would like to keep my 3 mile treadmile time around 21 minutes.

After 20 years+ of working out; I have noticed that the years that I looked my best, I typically kept up a cardio routine during the winter.

B) I am only allowing myself to bulk up 10 lbs over my peak.  That means I am only allowing myself to go up to 166 lbs. I am finding it more and more difficult to lose body fat as I get older (39)

Goals:

Bench press 315+. I usually reach this, but it’s going to be difficult without a regular spotter.

Squat 315+ ass to the ground. This should be easy. I have really worked on my squats the last couple years and I should be able to go over 315 pretty easily. I also may start squatting twice a week.

3 miles in 21 minutes treadmile. This is easy, I should be able to reach this with only 2 or 3 cardio sessions a week and that would allow me to run a fast session next summer.

Overall, my routines dont change that much.  I am basically just starting to eat cleaner and add some extra cardio during the winter, and my weight training is basically power based.

Good luck!

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Well, its looks like my season is over, at least for competitive running.

How did I do this year? Not great, not bad.I achieved most of my winter lifting goals.

I deadlifted over 500lbs pretty easily and I was squatting near 315, ass to the ground of course!

Bench press was slightly more difficult since I dont have a spotter,but even without a workout partner, I was lifting near 300 lbs  With a steady spotter I like to go up to 315 every winter but this year it was just impossible.

For my running, this year had been off and on for me.  I definitely need to change something up in my training for next season, because my times are not improving.

This year I did a 3 mile race in Mid May and ran around 21 minutes flat, and then I did a sprint race in the summer which included the 100 and 200 meters.

I did “ok” considering that I havent sprinted in over 20 years, but my times were not great.

Then this past weekend I did a 5k race that I run every year and I finished it in around 21:55; 20 seconds slower than last year.

I dont expect to get faster every year as I age (39) but I hope with improved training I can lower my times.

One area that I definitely need to improve on, is my diet.  I’ve learned that I cant put on 30lbs during the winter like I used to.  This year, I plan on only adding 10 lbs of extra bodyweight, to a max of 166.

Most likely I will never weigh over 180 lbs again in my life, it’s not healthy and its becoming harder and harder to remove bodyweight as I get older.

Overall, I have a second child coming in 2 weeks, so I will probably start my winter bulk up in a month.

I need to focus on my diet super hard this coming year and include cardio during my bulk up.

I dont know why, but even when I bulk up and gain weight, the cardio workouts help to keep me lean.

I will be posting my bulk up routine soon.

Good luck!

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