Thick traps and cannonball shoulders make a good physique great. DTP will make you great. Get ready to torch every fiber in your delts and traps with a variety of reps and weights. You’ll be hitting this exact shoulder workout for the next four weeks, so you’d better get acquainted.
KRIS GETHIN’S DTP DELTS & UPPER TRAPS WORKOUT Watch The Video – 15:24
We go behind the head with the press. If you have tight rotator cuffs or if you’ve had an injury there, I suggest you start off by stretching and warming the area. Stretch different angles: overhead, behind-the-back, trigger point and arm circles.
“If you want to attain a physique that others deem as unnatural, you gotta do things in the gym that are unnatural.”
On the upright rows, I take a wide grip. This is to specifically target the rear delts of the shoulders. I use a little bit of a swing, which I call “controlled cheating,” just to make sure I have a little bit of give within my spine. If I go too strict on this movement, I’ll feel more pressure within the joints instead of the muscles.
I don’t completely lock out my elbows, so it may look like I’m doing just a partial movement. I find I get a lot more stress on the delt by coming all the way down, really low, and just coming 3/4 of the way up. If I just go to parallel, then go all the way up, I find that I’m relaxing and using a lot of triceps. I find it harder doing more of a partial rep, like you see in the video.
I lean forward slightly, especially on the bottom portion of the rep, just to take pressure off the spine and put it a little bit on the erectors (the muscles around the spine). I find it a little bit safer and I may be able to get a slightly fuller range of motion, as well. Your grip might start to weaken during shrugs, even if you’re wearing wraps. That’s normal. Keep punching through this; dig deep and it all just comes down to how bad you want it.
I use gloves and straps, instead of wrist wraps. I find that shrugs, on the barbell or dumbbell, just totally rip my hands apart. It hurts my hands more than it hurts my traps. Must be getting soft in my old age!
Dynamic Transformation Tips
I don’t always stretch between shoulder press sets. Sometimes I do, if I’m feeling a little tight. I stretch to make sure I’m improving the elasticity of the muscle, the muscle fibers and the muscle fascia. If you have tight shoulders, I recommend you stretch between every set.
Trigger Point Therapy
If you’ve got really tight shoulders, a Trigger Point kit can help. I use the ball and the block for front delts. Lie face-down with the ball directly atop the block and under the front of the delt, where it meets the pecs. The pressure of your bodyweight breaks down the tissue, and opens up that tight area. Roll back and forth slightly, rotating your arm. Roll both sides.
While stretching, I focus on the physical aspect of what I am about to go through. I use this time to mentally focus on the workout and get rid of anything that might block my mind: work issues, relationship issues, whatever it may be.
You will experience mental fatigue, but will also incur a lot of physical and cardiovascular fatigue. You are not used to high reps with such high intensity. You’re going to gasp on some oxygen. I recommend you hit a lot of cardio with DTP to prepare your whole body.
If you don’t reach failure in 40 repetitions on the first set, you didn’t use a heavy enough weight. If you haven’t done an exercise recently, or ever, or with DTP, it may be hard to gauge. Wherever you start, count it as a set. Adjust the weight for the second set so you always reach failure.
Make sure that you lift smart! If you choose a weight that’s too heavy, don’t hesitate to rest/pause. Rack the weight, rest for about 5 seconds, and continue lifting. Make sure you’ve recovered enough energy to continue the set. Always hit the target number of reps, even if you have to rest/pause.
Around sets 8, 9 and 10, fatigue starts to sneak in. It is easy to take a longer rest period or pick a lighter weight, but you have to dig deep. Remember, if you want to attain a physique that others deem unnatural, you gotta do things in the gym that are unnatural. Select a heavier weight, keep the rest times down and dig deep and get it done. You’ll feel better for it in the end because you’ll achieve something that no one else does.
Take your post-workout shake, rest, recover and get ready for cardio tomorrow.
Check out the full range of DTP accessories!Go Now!
After three weeks on the Squat Every Day trainer, you may be tempted to cut corners here and there, but don’t do it! Completing the pause in today’s squat variation is just as important now as it was during the first week. Incorporating these pause squats into your routine will help your body develop explosive strength.
Your shoulders and triceps will get a workout today as well, helping you to create that sculpted upper body you crave. Use the warm-up sets to prep your muscles to do a maximal amount of work!
Don’t forget about your nutrition and supplementation. By now, you should be noticing some great changes in your physique. Keep it up!
Squat Variation Front squat with pause Watch the video – 1:04
When people talk about abdominals, the conversation usually doesn’t go far beyond the six-pack, but the core actually goes much deeper than any of the visible ab muscles. It’s time to learn how and why these muscles matter to the healthy movement and function of your body.
I’m going to teach you which muscles make up your core, what they do, and how they collectively work to stabilize your trunk so you can move heavy weight. Your abdominal training is about to get a serious pick-me-up. Here’s how science can help you achieve stronger, healthier abs.
Built By Science Abdominals Watch the video: 15:56
Despite popular belief, your abdominals are much deeper and more complicated than that superficial six-pack you check out in the mirror. Let’s get to the core of the issue.
These are the abdominal muscles you’ll find on the front of your body. They’re comprised of three layers: the deep layer, the intermediate layer, and the superficial layer.
These three muscles work together to help pressurize your inner-core musculature. Without this pressure, your core couldn’t stabilize and allow you to do those heavy deadlifts, squats, or overhead presses.
A lot of people don’t talk about the diaphragm in terms of exercise, but it’s critical to respiration. The diaphragm starts on the front inside of ribcage, comes up and around, and connects to the lower back.
The pelvic floor is made of muscles positioned below your pelvis. When you take a deep breath, your diaphragm comes down, and your pelvic floor catches the breath. The thoracic diaphragm and the pelvic floor pressurize and stabilize your spine.
Transverse Abdominus (TVA)
Your transverse abdominus is layered below your internal obliques and is another significant part of stabilizing your pelvis. It starts on the linea alba—the connective tissue that runs down the center of your torso—and attaches to the lower back.
The internal layer of your core lies between the deep and the superficial layer. It’s made up of a few muscles, but the most important is the internal oblique.
This muscle runs from linea alba—a vertical line down the middle of your anterior trunk—and attaches to the hip bone. It runs low to high, perpendicular to the external obliques. The internal oblique is an important muscle in respiration and torso rotation.
These are the muscles everybody wants to talk about. If you’re lean enough, the superficial layer of abdominal muscles forms a visible six-pack.
The external oblique runs from the ribcage down to your hips. Most people think of the external oblique as a trunk flexor or rotator, but it’s also a crucial muscle for stability through the core and midsection.
The external oblique helps posteriorly tilt the pelvis. A lot of people have the tendency to fall into anterior pelvic tilt, in which the lower back is arched and the hips are back, which creates a lot of pressure in the lower back. The external oblique is important for pulling the pelvis back to a neutral position.
The rectus abdominus originates on the pubis and inserts on the fifth, sixth, and seventh ribs, as well as the bottom portion of the sternum. It’s separated vertically by the linea alba and horizontally by three or four bands of connective tissue. These separations create six or eight muscle bellies that are collectively called the six-pack.
Your abdominals are much deeper and more complicated than the six-pack in the mirror.
Your core consists of more than just the muscles on the front of your body. It’s important to know what’s happening on the back. We’re going to focus on three specific muscle groups in this section: the multifidus, quadratus lumborum, and erector spinae.
The multifidi are small muscles that span 2-4 segments of the spine. You’ll never see them, but they’re important because they give your brain feedback about where your body is in space. These muscles also help control little movements throughout your spine.
Quadratus Lumborum (QL)
This big muscle runs from the top of the hip all the way up to your lower back. It’s important for side-to-side movements, but it’s even more important for preventing side movement. Your QL is necessary for controlling or resisting motion.
This muscle group starts at the sacrum and the top of the hip and connects to the ribcage, the top of your neck, and even as high as the base of your skull. These muscles are important for controlling motion during squats and deadlifts. If you need to maintain a little extension, that’s where erector spinae come into play.
The erector spinae are important for controlling motion during squats and deadlifts.
We many not think about them as often, but the bones and joints of your abdominal region are just as crucial to your training and development as your muscles.
The pelvis has two major motions: anterior tilt, which is rolling the hips forward and popping the hips back, and posterior tilt, which is rolling the pelvis underneath.
Your lumbar spine is comprised of the five vertebrae between your rib cage and your pelvis. It moves in lumbar flexion, or bending over forward; lumbar extension, which is arching backward; lateral flexion, or bending to the side; and rotation, which is rotating your torso to one side or another.
As important as these movements are when it comes to training, resisting motion is just as important. The lumbar spine doesn’t move much, other than front to back, so the more you can control or resist motion, the healthier your lumbar will be. A healthy lumbar means bigger, heavier lifts for a longer period of time.
The following are the exact movements your core is designed to do. A lot of people like talking about big-bang exercise like crunches, sit-ups, and side bends. In reality, your abs do a lot more than just flex. Here are the five motions you should know:
Take a deep breath in and hold it. That’s your diaphragm pressing down into your pelvic floor and out into your transverse abdominus. This pressure gives you a strong, stable spine to squat, deadlift, and overhead press.
Most people think your abdominals are only made to flex your trunk. They also control extension through the spine and lower back. Many people struggle to control arching backward. Your rectus abdominus and your internal and external obliques connect to the front of your pelvis and help control your lower back.
Lateral Flexion and Anti-Lateral Flexion
Lateral Flexion and Anti-Lateral Flexion
Internal and external obliques help you bend toward one side. This is called lateral flexion. The obliques and the quadratus lumborum are also important for keeping your spine neutral, which is called anti-lateral flexion. Imagine carrying a heavy bag of groceries. You need one side of your body to stay strong to control the motion so the other side doesn’t just drop to the side.
The rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus, and internal and external obliques are responsible for keeping your body from rotating too far. Like anti-lateral flexion, anti-rotation helps keep the torso neutral against pressure. To do any push or pull with one side of the body, you need anti-rotation.
Medicine Ball Twist
Crunches and sit-ups are examples of flexion. Your ability to bend forward is important, but if you’re squatting or deadlifting, you better hope you don’t fall over forward. Your core’s ability to keep your torso from rounding over is going to keep your spine healthy and allow you to move more weight.
Now that you understand the anatomy and biomechanics of your abdominals, it’s time to put that knowledge in action. It’s time to move past endless crunches; here are some key movements that will help you get the most out of your core training.
The TRX fallout is a great exercise because it will help you sculpt that six-pack and create balance. Many of my clients have a tight, stiff lower back. They need some core strength to help offset the tension and build better anterior and posterior balance.
Set up on your toes with your hands under your shoulders, holding onto the TRX straps. Exhale to keep your core tight and hold that position. From here, allow your hands to fall in front of your body. Keep your core tight and your back straight and pull yourself back up.
In the bottom position, you use your rectus abdominus and internal and external obliques to control the motion and force a neutral spine, neck, upper back, and butt.
A lot like the TRX fallout, this movement will help you control and resist extension through your lower back.
Lie on your back and reach your hands toward the ceiling. Bring your feet, knees, and hips up to 90 degrees. Exhale hard to bring your ribcage down and flatten your back to the floor. Hold this position through the set.
From your starting position, extend and push through one heel and then bring it back up to 90 degrees. Your back is going to want to arch. Resist that tendency. Stay tight and reach long through the heel.
This is a fantastic exercise for teaching your body how to resist and control rotation from side to side.
Grab a D-handle cable attachment and pull it to your chest. Stand up and extend the handle so that your arms are straight. The weight will try to pull you back, but you can resist with your internal and external obliques, transverse abdominus, and QL. These muscles will keep you from rotating toward the weight. Hold the resisting position for 20-30 seconds, and then switch sides.
The suitcase deadlift will teach you how to control side-to-side motions through your core and the spine. Pick up a dumbbell from a bench and stand straight up. From this position, shift your weight back through your hips into a single-handed deadlift, and then pop back up. Keep your hips down and your chin down. Progressively work through a greater range of motion.
Because that weight is on one side, you’re going to work hard to keep the opposite side stable. So not only is this exercise great for strength, it’s also going to train those stability muscles like your obliques and your QL.
Better Abs, Built By Science
At the end of the day, your abdominal muscles are everything to your core. They literally tie your upper and lower body together. Whether you’re doing this trainer for a better physique or you want to lift more weight, you need a strong, stable midsection for optimal results.
Ab training is not about moving through your lumbar spine, but it’s about being able to resist motion. Understanding this aspect of your core can help you train it more effectively. All in all, this knowledge will help you look and perform better.
Follow the Built By Science Program
Look for the exercises and techniques discussed above in the weekly abs workouts of the six-week Built by Science program. Watch all the overview videos before attacking the gym. Remember, you need to combine mind and muscle to build your best possible body.
Jay Cutler has devoted his entire adult life to bodybuilding. He’s found success as a pro competitor, a businessman, and an ambassador for the sport. His hard work has made the Cutler name synonymous with “champion.” Undoubtedly, Jay’s legacy will include the words “one of the greatest of all time.”
You’ll leave a legacy, too, even if it’s not forged from a superhuman physique. What’s it going to be? No matter how you choose to dedicate your life, you can learn from Jay’s legacy. As long as there is a stage for flexing, Jay Cutler will have a powerful impact.
Living Large Legacy Watch The Video – 13:47
Jay began bodybuilding with an all-or-nothing attitude. “I thought, if I’m going to be a bodybuilder, I’m going to see how far I can take it,” he says.
Jay “took it” far. He was immensely successful, even from the beginning. “Early in my career, I was successful at almost every show I did; I turned pro at my third or fourth show.”
Because of his early achievements, there was a lot of pressure for Jay to do well at his first Mr. Olympia contest in 1999. “I finished 15th out of 16. That was the only time I’ve ever questioned myself,” he confesses.
Cutler was a runner-up behind Ronnie Coleman four times before he finally won his first Sandow in 2006. Winning an Olympia made Jay a legend, but he was just getting started.
He won the Night of Champions in 2000. “After that show, I knew I could be very good. That’s when I knew I could be the best, and soon.” Alas, Jay’s first Olympia title was delayed for half a decade. He finished behind Ronnie Coleman four years in a row.
It wasn’t until 2006 that he finally became Mr. Olympia. He went on to win it again in 2007, 2009, and 2010. Now, he’s training for his chance to win another Sandow.
Blueprint for Success
Jay’s success was earned with his incredible will to win. “I have something [other competitors] don’t have, and I don’t even have to know them to know that they don’t have it. It’s very rare. It’s the drive and determination to be your absolute best,” Jay explains.
Jay’s ability to match mind with muscle has helped him climb Olympus, but not without sacrifice. “I pulled myself away and became very secluded. I missed time with my family. I missed birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings. But that’s what makes me so good. When training starts, I don’t answer telephones; I don’t have time to talk. It’s just the nature of an athlete.”
But Jay’s attitude toward bodybuilding has been changing. “Life goes by quickly. That’s when you realize there could have been a lot of opportunities to spend more time with the family,” he explains.
“I’m still competitive, but that’s slowing down. I want to win one more Mr. Olympia, but I also want to keep moving forward and find success off the stage.” Jay is a bodybuilder, and will always be a bodybuilder, but when the time comes for him to transfer his focus to business, the groundwork will have been laid.
Jay won four Olympias from 2006-2010. He took back the crown from Dexter Jackson in 2009 to become the only man to reclaim a title taken from him. He aims to do it again in 2013.
For now, Jay takes a lot of pleasure in life. “I just enjoy taking every day at a time at this point,” he says. He may or may not be the 2013 Mr. Olympia, but no matter how he competes in September, you know he’ll leave it all on stage. That’s what champions do.
5 Tips to Secure Your Legacy
1 Invest In Yourself
There’s no such thing as a “bad investment” when you are the venture. “The money I made and kept was the money I invested in myself,” says Jay. Your investment doesn’t have to be money. Putting time and energy into who you are and who you want to become will change your future in positive ways.
2 Learn From Your Mistakes
“You have to make mistakes before you learn,” Jay says. “That’s why I’ve become successful; I’ve already made all the mistakes.” Everyone makes errors, but not everyone learns from them. If you do, you’ll be prepared for whatever lies ahead.
3 Move Forward
Work hard for your dreams, but don’t stagnate. “Yeah, I’d like to win Mr. Olympia one more time,” Jay says, “but I realize that I need to keep a level base and keep moving forward to have success off the stage.” Your success doesn’t have to come from one place. Your happiness should come from multiple outlets.
4 Stay True To Yourself
There may be times when you’re asked to sacrifice your beliefs. True commitment to who you are and what you stand for is a key to creating a personal legacy. “I think the dedication to being who I was and staying who I was shows that if you work hard and long enough, good things will happen,” says Jay.
5 It’s How You Win
“It’s not about how many times you win, it’s about the fashion you win it in,” Jay Cutler declares. You can be rich, but so are art thieves and trust-funders. What matters is how you got there. Be unique in your accomplishments and you’ll find your legacy will shine much stronger.
For many new students, college means change. This may be the first time you’re 100% in control of your everyday experience. This freedom brings opportunities and challenges. Fitness must become a priority. This program can help you juggle fitness, academics, and fun so you can get the most from college life.
Big Man On Campus lifestyle Watch The Video – 6:15
In this course we’ll cover
Adjusting to college life
Making fitness a priority
Dealing with temptation
How to have fun and hit your goals
When I hit college, I was shocked at the freedom and control I had over my own schedule. I didn’t have anyone telling me what to do or where I had to be. I wasn’t forced to attend class. It can be tough attaining that freedom and not going crazy with it. If you can harness and take advantage of your newfound freedom, college will be one of the most rewarding periods of your life.
Your thoughts have an immense amount of power. If you think about fitness and exercise, you will subconsciously move toward those things. Keep fitness on your mind. You’ll meet others with the same hobby and set yourself up for success.
Take a nutrition class—it’s one of the best things a college student can do. You need an elective, so take a nutrition course. You’re going to talk about basic eating habits and get credit for it, and you’ll meet other people interested in nutrition.
Sign up for a fitness class, or just train at the fitness center on campus. The gym is a great place to meet other fitness-minded people. A huge part of college is socializing. Insert yourself into healthy situations, like joining an intramural team. Pick activities that combine exercise and socializing.
Fitness Friends and Foes
You’ll meet a ton of new people, not all of whom will be into fitness. If you have roommates you’ve never met before, they might not be in to working out. While it’s great to always have a training partner, don’t let yourself be bogged down or stopped when you want to train.
I worked out all through college. When I wasn’t training with the football team, I lifted alone three times per week. I didn’t need a spotter. I made it a priority to lift, and I lifted. Do the same and your friends might even follow suit.
All colleges have parties. I didn’t drink in college, but I would attend parties with drinking. You will get peer-pressured by your friends, but they’ll come to respect and honor your choices. You can still party. Be the designated driver for your friends, and don’t let a lack of alcohol ruin your fun.
You can’t sacrifice what you really want, your ultimate goal, for what you want right now. It may look like everyone else is having a great time, but you have to remember why you’re in college. Yes, you need to socialize, but you’re paying to learn. If you’re also in college to be fit, you’ll see and feel the drunken nights pile up.
If you’re over 21 and you choose to drink, be smart about it. Eat a lower-carb diet on Friday so you can drink Friday night. If you wake up with a vicious hangover, pound some water and hit the gym. Hop on a cardio machine and sweat out the alcohol. Cardio and hydration are my favorite cures for any hangover.
You can still party. Be the designated driver for your friends, and don’t let lack of alcohol ruin your fun.
Schedule Your Social Life
If you’re planning to drink, make sure to schedule it like everything else. Make Friday night your going-out night. Plan and make choices accordingly. Make sure you don’t have any Saturday morning commitments, and make sure you work hard enough so you can let loose.
If you drink frequently, remember that it’s always going to come back and bite you. There’s no way your body is going to perform at its peak if you’re dehydrated and weakened from drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse hurts your physical progress, your mood, and your mind.
You’re in college to learn. With fitness as a top priority, you’ll feel better, look better, be healthier, perform better, be stronger, and be able to enjoy the complete college experience. Don’t sacrifice your hard work and long-term results for short-term fun.
When it comes to girls, find someone with similar interests. Fitness can be a big-time commitment. If fitness is important to you, there are plenty of great places to meet girls with similar interests. Check out intramural sports, the gym, and fitness and nutrition classes.
Not as many girls lift in high school, but many start in college. This is a time for the ladies, especially if they’ve never taken a weight class, to do it!
Hand-picked supplements to help you build muscle, recover, and hit your goals!Go Now!
Who hasn’t experienced the guilty pleasure of a tasty pumpkin scone, cheesecake, or bread at the local coffee shop? Unfortunately, they’re pretty unhealthy, but they’re so darn delicious! If only there was a healthy down-home pumpkin piece of heaven that someone on a diet could enjoy…
Well, there is—and I’ve got the recipe! You might not have guessed, but pumpkin is a very nutritious fruit offering a bunch of great health benefits. Unfortunately, those benefits are usually offset by adding too much sugar, simple carbs, and fat. However, this edition of LiveFit Recipes proves that you can throw a whole mess of healthy ingredients together to make a pumpkin protein bar that’s soft, supple, and sinfully delicious.
Jamie Eason’s Pumpkin Protein Bars Watch The Video – 8:38
Pumpkin Protein Bars Recipe
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray a 9 X 13 Pyrex dish with nonstick spray.
Combine first 11 ingredients and mix well.
Add the oat flour, whey protein, almond milk, and walnuts, and mix until incorporated. Spread batter into the Pyrex dish and bake for 30 min.
This is what’s called a “taper week.” This week, the volume and weight you will use in your workouts is going to drop by about 50 percent. Doing so will allow you to keep your adaptation to training, so your skill doesn’t diminish. Cutting your volume and weight, will also allow you to supercompensate and recover, so that when you go to test your one-rep max at the end of the program, you’ll be at your optimal strength level.
The metaphor I used in the program overview was of a rubber band. At the end of week 12, you’re stretched, but this taper week is going to help you bounce back with a vengeance.
Layne Norton’s Ph3 Trainer 13th Week Watch the video – 5:02
The Art of Tapering
Tapering is a crucial component in a strength-focused program like PH3. You can’t skip this step, but a lot of people do. Or at least, they don’t understand its importance.
In my experience, a lot of people think that high-volume training doesn’t work for them, because when they bump up their volume in the short term, their performance goes down. So what do they do? They switch back to a lower-volume routine, and they see an increase in strength in the short term. When this happens, they assume that new strength is from the low-volume program, and that low volume is much better for them. Sound familiar?
You’re going to cut your volume and the amount of weight you’re lifting by about 50 percent. That will allow you to keep your adaptation to training, so your skill doesn’t diminish.
What actually happened in this case is that they executed what was in effect a taper week. The high-volume training they had been doing introduced the adaptation to get them those gains, but they needed to do the taper to actualize those gains.
The weights are going to be relatively easy during Week 13. That’s by design. Now, even though they might look easy on paper, they may feel heavier than they should when you get to the gym. This is normal! Remember, you’ve been overreaching.
Resist the urge to overdo it this week—just as you’ve hopefully been resisting that urge for the last 12 weeks. Now, more than ever, you need to do what you’re told and trust that it will pay off soon!
Cut Back to Bounce Back
You’ll cut both volume and intensity this week. In other words, both the amount of weight and the number of sets will go down.
You may be thinking, “Why not just one or the other?” It’s a fair question. We could, for example, keep the weights the same and cut down the number of sets. However, that’s not going to allow you to recover as much as if we took the weight down a little bit. I don’t want you to come even close to missing a rep this week! Recovery is the name of the game.
But at the same time, we have to balance that cutback with keeping the weights heavy enough to where you keep the adaptation to training. If you drop the weight too much, you’ll lose that skill. Your skill can erode after even just a week of detraining. Got it? High enough to where you keep that adaptation, but low enough to where you can recover properly. This balance is crucially important because this entire 13-week program is building up to retesting your one-rep maximum at the end of this week. Don’t blow it by doing too much.
You’ll cut both volume and intensity this week. In other words, both the amount of weight and the number of sets will go down.
Your split is going to look largely the same. There will be some differences, though. For example, we’re temporarily cutting out quite a bit of the accessory work this week. Just as we’ll drop down volume in the main lifts, we’ll going to drop down volume in the accessory work as well. That will help you maximize recovery and take full advantage of that supercompensation effect.
When you’re ready, use the one-rep max testing protocol for more experienced lifters that I describe in the “How to Test Your One-Rep Max” video. Make sure to post your new one-rep max and total using the hashtag #PH3. Tag myself and Bodybuilding.com to let us know how strong you’ve become!
What Comes Next?
You made it all the way through the 12-week program and the one-week taper, you tested your one-rep max, and you made some serious gains. So now what do you do?
The great thing about PH3 is that you can take your new one-rep max, and plug it back into the calculator, and it will generate a new program for you so you can continue to make progress.
Some people may have gotten so strong that they may want to try a powerlifting meet. I say go for it. This program and its taper week can work perfectly toward that goal if you time it right. Or maybe you’re progressing toward a bodybuilding competition. Now that you’ve gotten much stronger, you can run a hypertrophy-based program and get more gains because you can lift more weight for the same amount of reps.
Now that you’ve gotten much stronger, you can run a hypertrophy-based program and get more gains because you can lift more weight for the same amount of reps.
What I wouldn’t recommend doing is taking a week or two off after this program and starting it again. You’ve already taken a taper. You’ve recovered appropriately. You’re ready to thrive! It’s perfectly appropriate to start low with a good intro week, but do not take a week or two off.
Remember what I said earlier: Your body adapts to the stimulus and the stress of lifting weights. Take a week or two off, and you’re going to detrain and lose that adaptation. So when you go back into training, you’re going to be very sore, and it’s going to be incredibly hard on you to begin squatting or deadlifting two or three times a week again.
If you feel like you need an extra break, maybe take a much lighter introductory week with weights similar to this taper week. You’re stronger than ever, so let’s put it to good use!
Because I saw a need for well-formulated supplements that completely cut the BS, I developed my own line that smart lifters could trust: CARBON.Go Now!
Summer may be the season of activity, but it can be the toughest time to scrounge up the motivation to train. When it’s warm out, all the barbecues, vacations, pool time, kids being home from school, and other unavoidable action can make the gym an afterthought.
If you’re struggling to find the time and drive, take your lead from these ErgoGenix athletes and make the most of what time you have!
Kelley Smith: Fitness Fanatic, Nashville, TN
Tailor your workouts to your schedule. The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do. You can still fit everything into your busy summer schedule if you simply choose a workout that fits.
“While I’m lucky enough to have a gym at work, I always tailor my training to the amount of time I have available on my lunch break,” says Kelley. “It could be 15-20 minutes of high intensity interval training, 30-45 minutes of steady state cardio, or a short and simple lifting session. Customizing my workout so that I can fit it in allows me to return to work with renewed energy, ready to tackle the rest of the day. Don’t worry, we have showers at work so that I can wash the stink off.”
Find rhythm in your rest. Working out indoors doesn’t mean you have to leave fun behind.
“It might sound strange, but I love to dance through my workout,” Kelley says. “While I’m likely a distraction to my workout buddies, grooving to music between sets helps me re-center and regain my focus for the next lift.”
This is also a favorite technique of Kelley’s fellow ErgoGenix athlete Kizzito Ejam, who has danced his way through every workout he’s done for Bodybuilding.com.
Do your cardio outside (with a furry friend). As the weather warms up, the treadmill is no place to be. Not only is summer a good time to embrace the outdoors, but studies have found that outdoor physical activity can have as much as a 50 percent greater positive effect on mental health than going to the gym.
“When the weather is nice, I take a 20-30 minute run with my puppy, Abbey Rose,” Kelley says. “It’s a great way to exercise her, and it makes cardio seem a lot less painful.”
Andrew Prue, NPC Men’s Physique, Myrtle Beach, SC
Don’t just do it for looks. “My friend and ErgoGenix teammate Dane Martin said I should start working out to better myself and keep my mind off things,” Andrew recalls. “I needed an escape and the gym not only became therapy, but an everyday hobby. I wanted to not only get bigger, but live a healthier lifestyle. Never in a million years did I ever think fitness would benefit me in all the ways it has.”
Keep learning and stay fascinated. No matter how long you’ve been at the fitness game, you never stop learning.
“One thing I don’t think people do often enough is ask questions and educate themselves,” says Andrew. “After about 10 years of working out, I still learn new things every day simply by asking questions, reading fitness material online, or using social media.”
Really curious what a more advanced lifter like Andrew is doing in the weight room and why? Just ask!
LaDawn Latawiec: Personal Trainer, Kelowna, BC
Music is a must. “Staying motivated can be hard, especially on days when you really don’t feel like doing anything,” says LaDawn. “I suggest finding a motivational video or song that really pumps you up and gets you excited,” she adds.
Create a playlist of tracks that amp you up, especially if they’re tied to a compelling memory. A study in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology found that channeling that memory—or even just the emotion of the singer—boosts the motivational power of a song, which has been shown to improve physical performance. Looking for a heart-pumping compilation? Check out our 2017 Billboard Music Awards playlist.
Share your goals. “This may sound silly, but if you tell people what your plans are—whether it’s to go to the gym 5 days a week or eat healthier—it helps you stick to them,” LaDawn says. “The questions they’ll ask you on a weekly or daily basis about your progress will help keep you accountable.”
Plan and track everything. “Having a plan is so important—especially in the beginning,” LaDawn says. “Don’t let yourself feel lost!”
Bring a copy of your workout to the gym, follow it to the letter (or as close as you can), and track all the reps, sets, and weights you use with an app like Bodyspace. You won’t regret it!
Gabriel Morales, Weight-Loss Specialist, Los Angeles
Start where you are. “When I started, I was so heavy I couldn’t do much,” Gabriel says, recalling his 375-pound peak weight. “I was considered morbidly obese. I just started by walking and hitting a punching bag. As the weight kept coming off, I started lifting weights and upped the cardio.”
Remember: Everything counts—as long as you do it.
Set attainable goals. You may be dreaming about a double or triple-digit weight loss, and Gabriel definitely was. But, as his journey progressed, he saw that the path to a big change was through many small ones.
“Setting unrealistic goals will certainly lead to failure,” Gabriel says. “It’s great to have an ultimate goal of losing 100 pounds, but make your first goal to lose something easier—like 10 pounds. Once you achieve that, build upon it by losing another 10 pounds.”
Gabriel’s tips are great at any time of year, but they’re especially worthy during those months when gym time can be at a premium. Build up a little momentum now, carry it over into the fall or winter when you have more time to spare, and surprise yourself a year from now!
Samantha Tuohy, Personal Trainer, La Habra, CA
Engage in positive self-talk. “Stay motivated by telling yourself, ‘I can do this,’ ‘don’t quit,’ and ‘don’t cheat yourself,'” Samantha says.
It might feel a bit silly at first, but plenty of people swear by it—if you stick with it. Give yourself time to develop the habit, and if you need further motivation, remember that the endorphin release you get after a great workout positively affects your mood and reduces stress. In other words, it just feels great!
Trust the process. Make sure you sweat through your training session, but don’t spend summer sweating instant results. This is a project that will last far more than a single season!
“Unfortunately, results don’t happen overnight,” Samantha says. “There’s no magic pill, and you’ll have to work harder than you’ve probably ever worked. When you think you’ve pushed your hardest, add another 5-second hold or a few more reps to your routine. Remind yourself that with each day you’re getting closer to your goal, and never quit.”
Mitchell, R. (2013). Is physical activity in natural environments better for mental health than physical activity in other environments? Social Science & Medicine, 91, 130-134.
Karageorghis, C. I., Mouzourides, D. A., Priest, D. L., Sasso, T. A., Morrish, D. J., & Walley, C. L. (2009). Psychophysical and ergogenic effects of synchronous music during treadmill walking. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 31(1), 18-36.