Posts Tagged ‘cardio’

What a crazy start to the year.

Not only did I completely rip both quads in a powerlifting competition, but I also did it about one month before NYC was shut down with the coronavirus.

Luckily, I was able to get my surgery done before things got out of hand, but even as I am starting to recover, the gyms are still closed.

Since I am going to be stuck at home for at least several more weeks, I have started the “Prison Workout”.

So, what is the “Prison Workout”?

The Prison Workout is exactly what is sounds like.  Its the type of workout that you would use if you were stuck in a prison cell.

It means a lot of calisthenics.

I am doing a very basic, high school gym class workout.

A) 250 reps of push ups over several sets

B) 100 reverse dips over several sets for triceps

C) 100 reps over 3 sets of lifting a holding chair over my head for shoulders.

Then for legs, unfortunately I am still a mess since my surgery, but I am starting to do multiple sets of stepping up to a small box, side leg raises and leg extensions without any weight off the side of my bed.

Cardio is non-existent since I my legs are shot, but from just using imminent fasting, I have been able to cut 17 lbs since Valentines day.

Results so far: Honestly, I have been pretty surprised.  I think if you are coming from several months of heavy lifting or powerlifting, like I was, then the multiple reps of calisthenics work pretty well.

If you don’t have a solid base of heavy lifting, then I don’t believe it would work.

Overall, I am actually enjoying my break from heavy weight lifting.  I have been lifting heavy for 25 years straight now and it actually feels good to spend these 3 or 4 months just using my body weight.

What else choice do I have?

-John Andre

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Well, if you are wondering why I havent posted about my first full powerlifting meet in over 10 years, it is because it was a disaster.

I warmed up, feeling good, with 135, 225 and 275 before coming out for a “token’ 305 lbs.

What happened next was like a bad nitemare. I took the weight off the rack, felt light. I was slightly anxious from the crowd watching.

I remember going down fine, coming up slightly and all of a sudden my legs gave out.

My Double Quad Tear

All I remember is my legs giving away and people screaming while two guys ran over to help me stand.

Then the pain started.

It’s hard to explain what the pain felt like.  It wasnt a 10, more like an 8 and if anything, felt like one the worst “stinging” pains I ever had.

I couldn’t walk by myself, but I had two guys pace me back and forth in the back of the gym to work out the pain.  It actually felt better to walk around but eventually they made me sit down and apply large ice bags.

That’s when the pain hurt pretty bad.  I was able to handle it, but I was shaking pretty bad from the trama of everything.

After about 30-45 minutes I got my wife to pull up the car and the same 2 guys ( med students I believe) lifted me into the car.

I felt a little better on the way home, the pain went down to maybe a 6.5.  The hard part was getting out of the car. I didnt know the extent of my injuries at that point and I almost fell to the floor in the middle of the street.

Eventually my brother in law helped me walk into my apartment and down the stairs to my bed.

Once I got into the bed, I actually felt ok. The pain was down to a 4.5 and I slept for about 2 hours.

I usually never go to doctors, but I listened to my brother in law and went the next day. This injury looked serious.

I took a quick xray and the doctor said right away it looked like a double quad tear and they had ‘ never seen two pulled quads like that before, except for a major car crash”.

So now I am scheduled for surgery Wendsday to reattach my ligaments.  I have “sorta” gotten used to it. I can walk when my legs are completely locked and I been using crutches around the house and outside.

I wouldn’t be so horrible if I didn’t have a 2 year old and a 4 month old at home that want my attention 24/7.  I think my son has jumped on my legs already at least 25x. The good news is he forces me to stretch my legs every 30 minutes by playing with him

So, what does the future hold for me?

I think squatting is done. I am going to be 41 years old and I dont get paid for this shit.  Maybe I can deadlift again, but that will be a year away at least.

According to the doctor some patients come back to normal, it just takes several months to completely heal.  Then again, I blew both quads, not just one.

Wish me luck, I might start a daily vlog of my recovery.

-John Andre

 

I cant believe we are almost at the end of January but I am down to my last 17 days of my winter bulk up.

I havent weighed in for a while but I am sure I have gained at least 20 lbs from the winter.

My lifting this year has been strong. I am deadlifting, ass to the floor, towards the mid 300s, deadlifting slightly over 500 and today I almost bench paused 295 lbs.

I am enjoy lifting heavy weights in the winter and making gains, the only thing I dont like is the extra bodyfat.

I dont care what you say, if you are get strong, you need a little bit of fat.

It’s also crazy how 20 lbs make such a big difference.  When I weigh between 155-160 lbs I will have ripped abs, but when I get near 180 I start looking fat.

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I hit a sweet spot, which is the picture above, at around 175ish.

For lifting weights, its night and day.

At 155, I cant lift to save my life. My bench press max is at most 265 and I feel like a skeleton trying to squat anything.

At 180, I feel jacked. Back in my early 30s I would bench 225 for 20 reps and 315 for 4 like it was nothing.

I would say 98% of the guys in an average gym look the same all year round. They dont lift heavy in the winter, they dont diet hard in the summer and they never get to a level of cut like this.

jabeer

Ripped abs

 

– John Andre

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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!

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

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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