Posts Tagged ‘strength’

This has been a tough running year for me.  Actually, the entire last 9 months has been tough.

About 2 years ago I was in really good running shape and I was getting close to reaching my College times. But recently I have regressed.

One of the problems is that I have been running on the treadmill more.

My son was born in April and since then, I have been doing only treadmill during the week.  On the weekends, I have been trying to get outside but sometimes the weather in the Spring is just horrible.

I’ve noticed that my treadmill time is usually about 10-20 seconds faster per mile than when I run outside.

For example, if you can run 3 miles in 21:00 minutes on a treadmill, then you should run around 21:30-22:00 minutes outside.

But although the treadmill helps for running outside, the muscles used are completely different.

Today I did a Father’s Day race in NYC just to see what type of shape I am in and I ran horrible.  Probably my worst time in 5 years.

The first mile felt okay, but then after that I died out.

Using the treadmill just doesn’t use the muscles as much.  If I want to get back into outdoor running shape, I am going to need to run outside more.

But, there is a weird flip side to this argument.

I think the treadmill might be better for bodybuilding.

A) The treadmill is less impact, by a lot.  I can run hard on the treadmill all the time without getting super sore.

B) If might be better for bodybuilding.  This year I have been sprinting and jumping pretty good (basketball) and I think it might be because I’m not running outside so much.

So who knows? Is the treadmill the cardio of the future?  I still like going outside to run.  It’s better for a tan, sprinting and also it’s nice to be outside.

I think from this point forward I am going to force myself to get outside more.  There are several good races in the Fall that I would love to run.

How is everyone else doing?

-John

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Plateau’s are a major problem in bodybuilding as well in many other sports.  Most people will experience rapid gains when they start a new training activity but eventually those gains will come to an end.

They might not stop completely, but they will at least slow down.

Going from a 95lb bench press to a 200lb bench press is pretty easy and can be accomplished within a year, but going from 350 to 400 can take 10 years.

Running a 7 minute mile is easy after several weeks of training, while running a 5 minute mile takes a whole different level of committment.

This season I started my bulk up season in Mid September and for the last couple weeks I have been increasing my strength rapidly.

My goals this season are a 315 lb bench press and 100 lb dumbbells for shoulders.  As of today, I am up to around 300 lb bench press and 95lb dumbbells for shoulders.

Although I am getting close to my winter goals, the problem is that my gains are starting to slow down.  Any gains from now on are going to be a lot tougher.

So how do I keep gaining in strength?

  1. Increase the calories: I need to gain weight and I need to take in extra protein.  It’s close to impossible to get stronger if you aren’t taking in enough calories.
  2. Less sets/More intensity:  Often I see beginners starting to add extra sets to blast through a plateau, but in reality, they should be doing the opposite. Cut down on the sets and focus on taking your lifts more serious.
  3. Improve your speed: Many people don’t realize the importance of speed.  If you want to press heavy weights, you need to lift it fast.  Trust me, if you think you are going to deadlift 500-600 lbs slowly, you are joking.  Bench presses need to blast off your chest, dumbbells need to blast off your shoulders and barbells need to blast off the floor to deadlift it.

The other problem I am having, is that my body is not used to the heavy weights yet.  My muscles are starting to quickly adapt, but my joints and ligaments are starting to hurt.

It takes months and even years of consistent hard lifting to get really strong and if you think you can do it fast you are kidding yourself.

But if you work out consistent, lift heavy and eat right, anyone can build up a solid physique.

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-John

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I am getting HUGE this year.  Since August I have gained almost 20 lbs and I am finally starting to lift some heavy weights.

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If you have read my prior posts, my goal this winter was to get my bench press over 315 lbs and to reach 100 lb dumbbells for shoulders.  This week I am going to attempt a 305 lb bench press and also 95 lbs dumbbells for shoulders.  It’s not even December yet and I am already getting really close to my strength goals.

So, what have I done differently this year from other years?

Basically, I am cutting out all of the nonsense and only focusing on the weight lifting.  I am doing ZERO cardio and I cut out all of the extra sets that don’t add any benefit to my strength training.

But what is the problem with my current routine? I am definitely putting on some body fat.

If you are going to bulk up, you are going to add some body fat.  It is really difficult to only add on lean muscle and unfortunately there is only a small amount of bodyfat I am willing to tolerate each year.

I use the mirror as my guide.  If I start seeing any type of rolls, I will start to cut down slightly on the calories and possibly add some cardio.  Rolls are never allowed.

There are also some other ways you can check.  One would be the tightness in your clothes and another would be taking a close look at your face.

If I start to go up fast in waist-size, then I know I need to slow down.  One or two extra sizes is ok, but anything past that and I need to slow down.

The other way to check is by looking at my face.  I’ve always noticed that In the summer my face will start to get very lean and chiseled,  but during my bulk up, it is quite the opposite.  Not only will I start to look aged but my face will start to look bloated and fuller.

Overall, bulking up is not necessarily a problem if you don’t go overboard.  It is one of the best ways to add on solid mass and it is also the best time of year to build up size and strength.

This year I plan on peaking at 180 lbs before I go right back down to 150 in the middle of the summer.

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Good luck!

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26 years old, in my power lifting prime : )  182 lbs….

 

You need to EAT.  EAT, EAT and more EATING.

If you want to just put on lean muscle, that could be a problem.  But if you are looking to just lift some heavy-ass weights, you need to eat or you aren’t going to make any process.

I can’t BELIEVE how strong I am getting this year.  I cut off my cardio workouts about a month and half ago and I am already lifting near my  winter goals in some exercises.

So what have I been doing differently?

First of all, I stopped all of the high rep, multiple set nonsense.  Maybe that works for you, but for me it does just the opposite.  I lose muscle mass and my body starts to look very stringy.

But most importantly, I am taking in a TON of protein.  I don’t count my calories, but I am consuming a large amount of fish, chicken, peanuts and steak on a weekly basis.

Today I lifted 80’s for 7 reps in shoulder dumbbells.  That is not my best, but I am not far off from my peak.  At my best ever, I was up to 80’s for 10 and 105’s for 1.  I should be able to reach that pretty easily.

I am also surprised by how strong my muscle memory is this year.  I have been lifting heavy for the last 15 years and my body is responding so fast, it is almost unbelievable.

The late 30’s and early 40’s are very strong years for powerlifting and bodybuilding.  It’s hard for a young person to compete with someone who has years of 600 lb deadlifts and 400 lb bench press under their belt.   Building up mass takes time.

My basic goals this winter was to hit 315ish in the bench and over 100’s in the shoulder dumbbells.  It’s still not even November yet, but I think I might break that pretty soon.

I also planned to reintroduce my cardio workouts in December.  But with the success I’ve been having in the gym recently, I might even postpone that until February.

Why stop when something is working?

Pictures and more videos coming soon..

-John