I’m Back… and Back!
I told you I’d be back… and I just did back. Here’s the current mass building back routine:
Today, September 1st, 2011 marked an official beginning of a 4 month MASS building phase for me. I’m on a mad quest to get bigger than I have ever been in my life. Never mind that I’m not 25 anymore. Age means nothing. In fact, I’m seeing some of the best natural bodybuilders in the sport today continuing to peak at lifetime bests in their late 40′s.
My weight was fairly steady around 189-191 for a long long time as I had been experimenting with staying leaner and doing body recomposition protocols which I published in my new book, the Holy Grail Body Transformation system.
Using that program I had successfully stayed very very lean but my muscle gains came very very slowly. That was predictable, not a surprise by the way. Body recomp is a tough goal to achieve and you have to be a patient man to succeed with that approach. For the next 4 months, I’ll be doing a somewhat modified mass gaining protocol which still uses the holy grail nutritional periodization techniques (calorie cycling), but is aimed at being somewhat more aggressive in the muscle gains.
My body fat may creep up a bit more, and as long as there are at least some abs showing and I don’t turn into fat bastard, I’m at peace with that. After a long period of time weighing under 190 lbs, hearing the taunts of my training partner about how “small” I was (damn him!), I finally started cranking the food up again. I’m currently about 196 (On the gym scale today, I weighed in just under 200 lbs today with shoes on, fully clothed and fully fed (high carbs) and fully hydrated.
Heaviest I have ever been: Two-o-fat. Er, I mean 205. Yes, the truth is, my body fat was too high last time I was at that weight; it wasn’t ideal. For me to get up to 206-210 without getting as soft as the stay puff marshmallow man will be a monumental achievement, and absolutely new territory.
Alas, THAT IS THE GOAL DAMMIT!
You think it’s hard to get ripped? I find that simple and predictable if not easy. Hitting a higher lean body weight than you ever have in your life, naturally seems more of a challenge to me. If I don’t keep forcing food down my gullet, I tend to immediately drop under 200 lbs. Its a very unnatural weight for me, but I like challenges and I’m determined to enter new territory this year.
That brings us to the first workout. Day one of MASS PHASE: Back day…. second only to leg day for putting on sheer body weight… and if deadlifts are in the mix, back day could arguably exceed leg day as the superior bulk builder.
I didn’t deadlift today though. That will be a future challenge when my low back is a bit better prepared.
Here’s my current program: The old standby… the classic… old dependable… the FOUR DAY SPLIT.
The four day split gives me one day just for training upper back, lower back and calves. That’s a typical mash up for the body parts: one major body part (back) – which is very energy demanding, and one small minor body part (like calves), that is not demanding. It’s all about energy allocation. For example, I would never want to do legs and back in the same day. Not the way I train for bodybuilding anyway. Whatever came second would suffer.
First exercise: Low cable rows; pyramid up: 210 pounds for 15 reps, 220 for 10 reps, 230 for 8 reps, 240 for 7 reps. Stack goes to 300. Plenty of room. Love Strong and Shapely gym and dem big ass weight stacks! Try to find that at Planet Fitness!
Last set was one ultra strict lighter set with 1-2-3 count “mechanical” reps: from stretch position pull to stomach in one long pull, hold and contract, thats ONE! with ZERO upper body movement / ZERO pivoting at the hip, slowly extend the arms until they are straight, TWO! then pivot at the hips, lean forward and S T R E T CH! Thats THREE! then PULL all the way back to contraction… ONE! Each 3 count is one rep by the way. 140 pounds. More excruciating than the 7 with 240. Amazing what you can achieve with tweaks in form, tempo and leverage.
Second exercise: pull up medley: medium grip parallel, wide grip pronated, curl/supinated grip narrow and ultra wide grip parallel. Very strict sets of 10-12 with a hold / contract at the top of each rep. None of that kipping shit. Contractions. Bodyweight only today for very strict reps
Here’s a tip you might try in your own workouts: we are all victims of our own habit patterns. We not only gravitate to the same exercises, we gravitate to the same order of exercises. If you do pullups, do you usally do them first? Yeah me too and so do most people. Pull ups are difficult and the more fatigued you are, the the harder they are do to. But why not throw your body for a loop and do them 2nd… or even last in the workout and see what happens. You won’t lift as much weight or get as many reps, but you may get some new stimulation. Also, by rotating the exercise you do first, whatever it is you do first, you WILL hit that fresher, and hitting different exercises when you are at your strongest can also produce some new stimulation. Mix up your order of exercises more often and see what happens.
Third exercise: T bar rows with pronated shoulder width grip: Very strict with tight contraction and full stretch; 105 lbs, 115 lbs, 125 lbs. I go very heavy and do semi-cheating sometimes on some exercises, but I prefer going strict here with less weight as this exercise is a bit precarious with the lower back. its a GREAT mass builder though. If you dont have a T bar in your gym… get a real gym dammit! Just kidding… I meant to say, you can do corner bar rows. All you need is an olympic bar. Wedge it into the corner and row one end of the bar.
Rope straight arm pulldowns. 3 sets super strict. Stick your butt out, keep a tight arch in your lower back to maximize the stretch and contraction. I take a very tight contraction and squeeze at the bottom position and a full stretch at the top position on every rep – and then even an “extra” stretch on top of that (straighten out my arms and let the weight pull even more on those long fibers of the lats). You can literally feel your scapulae popping out. Drop set on last set. This is the one – this is the exercise that’s going to bring out the front lat spread. Wicked finisher
Next up was lower back. I would tell you what exercise we did, but then I would have to kill you. Sorry, ultra top secret exercise designed to bring out Christmas tree lower back, striated glutes and lower lat striations at the same time – ITS THE COMPETITION CRUSHER! What, you don’t have a striated butt and a christmas tree? Sucka! You lose!
All I can say is I must give my training partner Kostas the “Greek Statue” props for pulling this one out. NO! we’re not telling you. guess you’ll have to come to East Rutherford and spy to find out (then we’ll kill you anyway for spying).
I finished with calves: donkey calf raise machine stack + 2 45′s 4 sets of 20; will increase weight next time. Quads were so crippled from last leg workout couldnt do the seated calf machine (thigh pads crushing down on sore quads = murder)… so instead did hack-style /calf raise machine. Will do seated calf next time
I’ll be back again with more workouts soon, plus I have a “champion’s interview” on deck with Skip Lacour that I’ll publish in the next few days.
Until then, no slackin off on the holiday weekend, ya hear!
-Train hard and expect success!
PSIf your current goal is fat loss check out Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle – that’s my fat loss bible and the fat loss bible for many of our readers here…
If on the other hand you are interested in “body recomposition” – gaining only lean muscle while losing fat at the same time, be sure to check out the “Holy Grail” body transformation.