High Density Chest Training, Multi Rep Bicep Training And Advanced Abdominals


Wednesday, September 28th, 2005. I did a fairly conventional straight sets chest workout today without all the intensity techniques I usually use. However, I did keep the intensity high by using high density training. For biceps, I used a brand new routine, but I stayed with the tri-set system because it has worked so well for me this year. My ab routine was done 100% dangling from the chin up bar and on top of a ball (read on to learn more).


A1 Hammer Strength Isolateral Incline Press
2 warm up sets
3 sets X 100 lbs per side X 12, 11, 10 reps, strict
B1 Incline Neutral Grip dumbbell Presses (palms facing each other)
3 sets X 75 lbs X 12, 10, 10 reps
C1 High Cable crossover from low pulley
Set 1: 40 lbs X 15 reps
Set 2: 40 lbs X 3 reps full range, 3 reps partial, 3 reps full range, 3 reps partial, 2 reps full range
Set 3: 35 lbs X 6 reps full range, 4 reps with 4 second hold at top, 4 reps full range
D1 Cybex Dip machine Wide Grip Dips
3 sets X 130 lbs X 12, 12, 10 reps


A1 EZ Bar Curls
3 sets X 115 lbs X 6 reps
A2 Incline hammer dumbbell curl
3 sets X 35 lbs X 12 reps
A3 Bent over barbell concentration curl
3 sets X 65 lbs X 25 reps
no rest between tri-setted exercises A1, A2, A3, 90 seconds rest between tri-sets
B1 Icarian Curl Machine, one arm
3 sets X 60 lbs X 10, 9, 7 reps, 2-3 forced reps at end of each set


A1 Hanging straight leg raises

3 sets X bodyweight X 15-20 reps

A2 Hanging Knee Ups
3 sets X 15-20 reps
No rest between supersetted exercises A1 & A2, 60 seconds rest between supersets
B1 Swiss Ball crunch
3 sets X 35 lbs X 15 reps
C1 Swiss ball side crunch
3 sets X bodyweight X 25 reps per side

Workout Commentary

My chest workout today was mostly conventional straight sets without all the intensity techniques I usually use. The only “technique” I used today was to do some range of motion changes and contraction holds on the cable crossovers.

What I DID do to keep the intensity high was to cut my rest periods very short today. This is what I call HIGH DENSITY TRAINING, which simply means that I pack a lot of volume (sets and reps) into a short period of time. I was averaging only about 30 seconds between each set throughout the entire chest workout. This allowed me to get through four exercises very quickly.

After using the same (very effective) bicep routine for quite a while over the last few weeks, I decided to change up the routine today. However, I did stay with the TRI-SET system because that has worked wonders for my arms this year.

Last month I did a three rep system tri-set with Kostas during one of our weekend workouts, but we only did it once. I just came back to it today, and it is phenomenal. I picked three bicep exercises; one for the mid range position, one for the stretch position and one in the contracted position. I then tri-setted the three of them with the first exercise heavy in a 6 rep range, the second moderate in a 12 rep range and the third very light in a 25 rep range. Man, I’m telling you, the pump after that that last set of 25 reps is unfreaking-believable!

I admit I’m a bit of a “slacker” when it comes to abs. In the off season, I only do one ab workout a week (and have been known to miss even some of those workouts from time to time!) When the contest season begins, however, I start hitting my abs twice a week – and hard.

I’ve continued to work my abs hard, staying with one of my favorite combinations: hanging straight leg raise supersetted into hanging knee ups (hanging from a chin up bar using the “Ab Slings”). Then I did two exercises on the Swiss ball – the Swiss ball crunch weighted with a dumbbell, and the Swiss ball side crunch for the obliques.

You have to build up slowly to the point where you do Swiss ball crunches with weight (like the hanging leg raises, it’s an advanced exercise, not for beginners), but if you already have a base of abdominal and core strength and a strong healthy back, it’s a superb exercise.

Although I’m not competing this weekend (I chose a show on the 15th instead of the October 1st show I was aiming for previously ), I continued with my 3 day low carb cycle the past 3 days just as if I were competing. That means Sunday 25th, Monday 26th, Tuesday 27th were all very low carb days, and I trained early in the morning today while still on low carbs. It was tough getting through this workout. The tank was empty!

The good news is, After my workout today, I started carbing up just as if I were competing this weekend, because I want to do a “test run” of 3 days of high carbs today, Thursday and Friday to see how many grams I can take in to fill out completely without “spilling over.” I’ll be taking in a minimum of 300-400 grams of carbs, and possibly as many as 500 these next three days. I’m also going to take 2 days off of lifting tomorrow and Friday as well. This will be the first time in more than three months that I’ve had more than one day in a row off of training and more than two days of high carbs, and it will give me some relief from the strict dieting and hard, long cardio I’ve been doing over the past 4 weeks. Then, I’ll be ready to tear it up for the final two week push.

Starting Saturday October 1st, I’ll go back to carb depletion on 3 days low, 1 day high cycle, only this time, because I’m already so close to peaking already, I plan to take in somewhere between 150-200 grams on low days (actually more like a medium carb day). 100 grams a day was extremely low for me and really caused a decrease in my energy, performance and even mental concentration (but if I have to, I’ll do one more go round at 100 grams for 3 days later next week — I always adjust carbs and calories according to how I look).

I will probably pull back my 45 minute cardio sessions to 30 minutes a session, but for the next 10 days or so, I’m going to keep my 2 sessions a day going. The duration is really going to depend on my level of conditioning and how lean I am. Then, hopefully, the week of the Oct 15th show, I will continue to taper down cardio to only one session of 30 minutes. It takes a lot for me to take the fat off, but not as much to keep it off once it’s gone.

I still feel like I’m at about 97% of peak condition, but with almost two and a half weeks til this next show, I have no doubt I will nail this one 100%.

The next blog will be Saturday the 1st. I’ll let you know how the two days off training and three days on high carbs went, plus a report from the natural USA contest (I’m still going to the show, but just as a spectator this time!)

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Comments on High Density Chest Training, Multi Rep Bicep Training And Advanced Abdominals Leave a Comment

October 6, 2005

Tiago @ 9:09 pm #

Hey Tom, what does it mean when you said you don’t want to “spill over” on high carb days?

October 7, 2005

Tom Venuto @ 1:40 pm #

When you exceed available glycogen storage by over carbing in the few days before a contest, you tend to lose definition, “blur” or retain water under your skin which we call “spillover.” It’s a fine line between carbing up enough to look full and vascular (and not flat), and too much, which will smooth you out.

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