Posts Tagged ‘Running’

Muscle confusion is a common term used today by many bodybuilders and it does have some merit when done correctly.

The basic premise behind muscle confusion, is that your body will start to get used to the same exercises and you will need to change your routine to stimulate any further growth.

Do I use muscle confusion? Sort of.

20170817_062911

But to be honest with you, the best exercises are the heavy powerlifting basics; bench press, squats and deadlifts.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was deadlifting over 700lbs in his prime and Ronnie Coleman was deadlifting over 800.  If you can’t deadlift over 400lbs then I have news for you, you need to get stronger.

The same goes for bench press and squats.  If you can’t bench press over 300lbs, your chest will never grow large enough.

So in reality, I find that most bodybuilders need more muscle consistently, rather than muscle confusion.

But, I do use muscle confusion with my secondary exercises.  For example, after bench press I will usually add a secondary exercise.  Typically, it will be either dumbbell inclines, fly’s or sometimes pause reps.

This winter I am also starting to rotate my shoulder routine.  Last week I was able to work up to 85’s for 3 reps.  This week instead of going for a 90lb single, I decided to switch to dumbbells for chest on a flat bench. Although it’s not directly shoulder related, I decided to switch to a similar exercise for several weeks, until I switch back to shoulders.

The best part about starting a new exercise, is that you should go up every week for the first several weeks.  So in effect, you are guaranteeing strength gains.

For running, again I believe in consistency over confusion, but I will try to vary the speed.  By adding sprints, tempo runs and hill repeats, you can burn off a ton of extra fat.

20160715_065110

So overall, do I believe in muscle confusion? Yes and No.  Just as long as you recognize that there is no substitute for the heavy compound exercises like bench press, deadlift, squats, shoulder, incline and barbell press.

-John

P.S. I should have a new website coming out in early 2018!

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

(more…)

Advertisements

I am now officially a month and a half into my winter bulk up and so far it is going great.

My only disappointment so far has been with my bench press.  I definitely have some type of permanent shoulder and elbow damage that is affecting my ability to go super heavy.

I have been experimenting with different types of grips and techniques for my bench press and although I have been able to eliminate a lot of the pain, it still sets me back several weeks on making progress.

I am starting to realize that if I ever want to reach my record of 355 lbs, I am going to have to change the way that I train.  For decades I have driven most of my power from my chest and shoulders, but going foward, it looks like I need to focus on my triceps.

I will always have a strong bench press, I just cant guarantee that I will break my old records. Of course, I will never stop trying.

My shoulder press has been going surprisingly well.  Even with all my shoulder and elbow problems, I was able to get up to 85’s in shoulder press almost immediately.  Last winter I peaked at 95 lbs dumbbells, so I am only 10 lbs away and I have 4 and half months left.

For the squat and deadlift, I have been killing it.  I have already deadlifted 475 lbs and today I squatted 255 lbs pretty easily.  My back and knees are feeling pretty good, so I should be able to hit some decent numbers.

Overall, I can’t complain.  I am gaining body weight and my lifts are within striking distance of my winter goals.

I need to eventually decide when to cut back.  The last several years I have starting cutting up on St. Patrick’s Day.  I will have to decide if I want to start cutting up earlier or allow myself to go longer into the Spring.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

(more…)

The easy answer is that it depends on the person. But more importantly, you need to find out which routine works the best for your body.

20170903_085651

After years of working out, I can say with 100% certainty that my body responds to low reps.  Not only does my body prefer low reps, but it also prefers heavy weights.

Some people are different.  Arnold Schwarzenegger was famous for doing multiple sets over several hours a day.

Ronnie Coleman was known for lifting super heavy with powerlifting style exercises.

Personally, I prefer the heavy powerlifting style for several reasons:

  • The muscle lasts longer.  When you are lifting heavy weights, the mass stays on for a long time
  • It’s practical. even if you aren’t a bodybuilder, it helps in everyday life to be a stronger person.
  • I always get injured with high reps.

This Fall season, I have been getting back into the old school powerlifting routines.  Heavy weights, low reps and a ton of extra calories.

The same can also pertain to running.   I believe that everyone needs some form of cardio; whether it is running, biking, basketball, etc.

But I definitely do not believe in long distance running.  Training for 1 or 2 marathons in your life isn’t going to kill you, but I don’t recommend it as a long-term training routine.

I actually gain body fat when I run long-distance.   I become “skinny fat”, which is very skinny with a high level of body fat.

When it comes to cardio, I prefer to train the same way as I do with weights.  Quick and fast.  Sprinting, tempo runs, hill repeats and nothing over 5-miles.

By just running 2-4 miles 3x a week, I am able to get my 3 mile time to under 20 minutes.

So overall, do high reps work?

It depends on the person.  Try it out on yourself and track your progress.

Be honest with yourself. If you aren’t making progress then it may not be working for you.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

(more…)

Out of all the exercise routines known to mankind; crossfit, running, pilates, bodybuilding, yoga, etc.  The most practical exercise is actually a very basic routine; powerlifting.

This nothing more practical than lifting heavy weights.  When you build up your core strength, it affects almost every part of your every day life.  Whether it is picking up groceries, painting a room, loading firewood or taking an air conditioner out of a window; it helps to be stronger.

Even if you don’t care how you look, you should at a minimum add some moderate powerlifing and light cardio to your daily routine.  The combination of powerlifting and light cardio, along with a clean diet, is really hard to beat.

Just recently, I have gotten back in to the heavy powerlifting and I reminded everyday by how important it is to lift heavy.

Besides feeling very energized (in comparison to running which makes me tired) Deadlifting 500 lbs solves a lot of problems:

  • It puts on size (mass)
  • It builds your calves, back, arms and thighs
  • It builds confidence
  • It helps in the other lifts, shoulders, squats, etc.
  • It helps in everyday activities.

Sometimes when you are stuck in a rut with your routine, there is an easy answer to accelerate your progress, start going heavy.

This week I am getting back into the mid 200’s for squats and I am hoping to be in the mid 400’s in my deadlift on Friday.

This will be my 3rd week into my winter bulkup and I need to add as much mass as possible.  Heavy bench press, heavy squats, heavy shoulders and heavy deadlifts.

Going heavy is practical and it is the best way to build mass if you want to start bodybuilding.

You want to build a solid 6-pack? Start squatting and deadlifting.  Once you start dieting and adding cardio, that solid stomach muscle will be the only thing left over.

20160715_065110

This year, I plan on going up to 180 lbs before I cut back down again to 150 for the summer.  Heavy lifting and light cardio all the way up until Mid-March

Good luck!

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

“Old man”strength exists.  I have been working out now for over 20 years and there is a certain level of strength that I have in my 30’s, that I didn’t have in my teens.

As a young man, I had tons of energy and speed. But, now that I am into my 30’s I’ve noticed that although I have lost some speed, I have gained strength and endurance.

I remember when I first started working 40 hours a week.  I thought I was going to die.  Now, after years of working, I can do repeat 60 hour work-weeks without batting an eye.

I can also go to work with barely any sleep and I only get sick just once a year if even that.

Unfortunately, I also have some nagging injuries.

My left rotator cuff has been hurting on and off for a decade now.  Sometimes it hurts just a little and other times it hurts so bad that I can barely lift.

Recently, I am trying a new method.

IGNORING IT.

Rest doesn’t help and if I go to a doctor he is going to tell me to get surgery.  So basically I am adding 30 minutes of stretching a day and just ignoring it.

Life is about pain. Whether it is working 90 hours a week, training for a marathon, or going to work with no sleep because my son was sick; I need to ignore the pain.

You can’t always live a life of comfort and I have decided that if I plan on lifting forever, I just need to just suck it up and accept the pain.

Today I did some squats at lunch on 4 hours of sleep.  Between an infant, a job and working out, it’s not easy; but no time for excuses.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

October is here and tomorrow I start my first official workout for bulk up season.

My goal this year is to go up near 180 lbs, along with hitting certain strength and cardio goals.  This year I would like to hit the following;

325 bench press

315 squat

475 deadlift

95’s shoulder dumbbells

3 miles in 22 minutes outside and treadmile

1 mile under 6 minutes

You would think that my cardio workouts would make me weak, but its actually quite the opposite.  Just as long as I am increasing my calories, the cardio workouts actually help to keep me lean while I gain weight.

I also noticed that the cardio workouts help to stretch out my muscles.  For last 10 years I have had nagging rotator cuff injuries, but I have learned that cardio helps to stretch it out.

I also want to get started quickly.  I feel like I took too long to get into the real heavy lifting last year because I was scared of injuries, but I don’t know if that is necessary.

I have over 20 years of lifting experience now, there is no reason why I cant start attacking right away.

Hopefully, I will have some heavy numbers up by Thanksgiving.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Now that the week is over, I am ready to officially start my winter bulk up routine on Monday.

20161113_211403

In the last 3-4 weeks I stopped my bodybuilding diet and I am also curious to see how much weight I gained.  I am estimating that it was at least 6 to 7 lbs.

Staying super lean is difficult.  I can only stay super cut for 2 to 3 months and then I need to eat.  I am usually really cut from mid July to Early September and then I start to slowly bulk up.

So now that summer is over, it is time to lift heavy!

Although I went heavy in the gym this past winter, I feel like I was missing some of the heavy powerlifting routines that I had used in my 20’s.

Powerlifting is probably the best way to add any muscle and also it has a practical use; you stay strong.

In the last several years I have noticed that I have been skimping out on two of three powerlifting exercises; deadlift and squats.

How can I consider myself bulking up if I am skipping 2 of the 3 powerlifts?

This year, I have decided to reintroduce them.  My squat is already back over 225 lbs and today I deadlifted 315 for several reps.

I used to be a great deadlifter.  My best deadlift was over 575 lbs and 425 for 10 reps.

 I would love to get back over 500 this winter.

I’ve also noticed that my muscles feel different, especially my abs.  I have a soreness that feels different from the other lifting I was doing.

Overall, in only 2 weeks of powerlifting, I can feel a major difference from now and last winter.

Squats, deadlifts and bench press, when done correctly, will reach almost every muscle in your body.

With the increase in calories and the heavy lifting, I feel confident that I should be able to add some solid mass this year.

Updates coming soon!

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

The Fall is officially here!  I have been pigging out since Labor day weekend, but that is about to come to an end.

Next Monday I will officially start my Fall/Winter bulk up.

So, what is my goal this year? MASS.

I want to add some solid muscle mass.  And the only way to way to accomplish that, is by lifting some heavy ass weights.

With that being said, I also don’t want to add on too much body fat.  It is impossible to only add on lean muscle, but I will try to incorporate cardio through out the entire winter to minimize the damage.

This will be my schedule starting Monday:

Monday: Chest

Tuesday: Squats/cardio

Wendsday: Cardio/rest

Thursday: Shoulders

Friday: Back

Sat/Sun: Optional cardio.

My cardio will be a mix of tempo runs outside (2-4 miles), some sprinting when possible and 30-45 minute sessions on a bike or eliptical.

My performance goals are as follows:

Bench press: 325

Shoulders: 90-95

Deadlift 455

Squat: 225×10, 275x 5, 315 for 1 or 2

I mile run under 6 minutes:

3 mile run under 22 minutes.

Hopefully, I can reach these goals by New Years and then I can try to surpass them in the Spring.

I will keep everyone updated.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

I have to admit, the Fall is my favorite time of year for doing outside cardio.

falll

When the weather cools down and the leaves change color in N.Y.C, I try to get outside as much as possible.  It’s also nice to get outside before the extreme cold weather starts.

I don’t care what anyone says, long-distance running is better in cooler weather.

It’s not a coincidence that the NYC marathon is usually on the first Sunday in November, because the weather is slightly colder  It’s not necessarily better for sprinting, but it is a lot better for long distance training.

Running in the heat is tough.  Although I want to be cut in the summer, I find it hard to run outside when its over 90 degrees out or extremely humid.

Now that I am officially done losing weight for the summer, I am also slowly going to increase my calories and get back into some heavy lifting.

I plan on starting my official bulk up on October 1st. But for now, I want to get outside as much as possible.

Next week I am going to post my official bulk up guide.  There are several changes that I would like to incorporate this year and hopefully next summer I will look my all-time best.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!

 

Summer is almost officially over.  School is back in session, football has started and the Mr. Olympia is this weekend.

I am doing 1 or 2 fun races in the next several weeks and then I am officially starting my winter bulk up.

20170903_085651

Although I ended up in pretty good shape this summer, there were two problems that effected my winter bulk up.

  1. I didn’t diet strictly.  Don’t get me wrong, I generally eat pretty good all year long, but I let myself eat some bad food during the winter.  I need to cut out the pizza, (which is tough since my wife was pregnant and I moved to Staten Island)
  2. I need to do cardio all year round.  Last year I was so burnt out from running that I took a full 6-7 months off. That is way too long.  I really only need a couple weeks of rest before adding some cardio into my routine.  I don’t need to do wind sprints in the snow like I used to, but a moderate cardio session 3x a week will do the trick.

Bulking up is a sensitive topic and I don’t even like using the word in front of amateurs.  95% of guys in the gym look the same for 20 years in a row.  Winter, summer, spring and Fall, they weigh the same, their bodyfat is the same and they train the same.

If you want to bodybuild, you need to make adjustments.  Gain muscle in the Fall and Winter, and cut down in body weight in the Spring and Summer, while trying to retain the muscle.

When I was in the best shape of my life, I was running 3 miles in 20 minutes and benching 275 for 7 reps.  That is a powerful combination of both strength and cardio and it worked really well for my body.

JASUMMERPICTURE-MIX

So my advice this bulk up season is:

  • Stay strict with your diet and continue your cardio at a moderate pace.   To gain weight, try to eat more “good” food instead of increasing the calories with crap.
  • Always do your cardio AFTER heavy lifting.  Remember, the key is to put on size and gain strength.
  • If you aren’t stronger in the winter, then you are wasting your time.

The bulk up is a long 6-8 months, so make sure you do it right.

-John

Check out my 2 books on amazon.com or support me on patreon!

Lift Heavy/Fun Fast on Amazon.com!