This pup apologises for this post being overdue, I’ve been thinking about the best way to convey information on exercises. I feel that there is probably too much to put into one post, so instead i want to break it down into their respective muscle-group days
First of all, I would describe my exercise routine as a mixture between a hypertrophy program for bodybuilding and a powerliting program for sheer strength. In general powerlifting exercises have low numbers of repetitions and very high weights, they are complex lifts requiring whole groups of muscles. Hypertrophy exercises tend to emphasise higher repetitions with lower weight to exhaust the muscle more thoroughly and generally tend to be simple lifts, emphasising the isolation of a few muscles at a time.
Do not attempt powerlifting without a knowledgable coach. While powerlifting is quite a safe sport injury-wise (Interestingly, American Football and Cheerleading are the highest for catastrophic injury SOURCE), bad form will not only hinder your progression in the sport, but may cause long term harm to tendons and joints
Experienced lifters will quickly point out that mixing strength with size-building exercises will cancel eachother out somewhat. This is true. There are some days where I feel like lifting very heavy weights. The feeling of being measurably stronger is very rewarding. I’ve found that having a mostly size-building program hasn’t impaired too greatly on my strength.
How many reps do I need of each exercise?
This generally depends on the exercise you are doing and the program you are on. A general rule of thumb for me is as follows:
- Powerlifting Sets: 5-6 reps.
- Heavy Exercises: 8-10 reps.
- Lighter Exercises: 10-15 reps.
Using this basic guideline, you can determine whether your selected weight is the right one. If you are planning on lifting a heavier weight, but can’t get up to eight, it might be too heavy. On a lighter exercise, if you can go beyond 15 reps without too much trouble, the weight is too light. There are some exceptions - for example some programs will work you to absolute exhaustion, others might have a deliberately higher number of reps.
On Negative Reps:
Muscles contract. That’s their sole purpose. Muscle fibers can only contract in one direction (with perhaps the exceptions of biceps brachii and biceps femoris). It is through a symphony of several different muscles contracting and supporting eachother in unison that allows us to move at all. It’s both fascinating and miraculous!
It stands to reason that our muscles are very good at contracting, seeing that’s their sole purpose. A contracting lift is called a concentric lift. One thing we are not quite so well capable of is releasing tension under pressure. These lifts are called eccentric lifts.
In size-building (hypertrophy training) we exploit that weakness by performing negative repetitions and maximise the strain we put on the muscle. To do that it is common to have a 1:1:5 ratio to each rep: 1 second establish the concentric lift, 1 second to squeeze the muscle, 5 seconds releasing the tension eccentrically in a controlled way.
When training like this, it helps greatly to have a training partner, allowing you to work with much heavier weights without exhausting oneself too much with the concentric component. On your own you kind of make-do with what you can manage.
Some further investigation can yield some fascinating studies into the successes people have had with negative lifts.
So.. My Arms Monday Arms Day.
I tend to feel rather vulnerable about my arms, they’ve tended to be a difficult muscle group for me. Growth in this area has been a little slow and sluggish, but progressive.
- Triceps Pulldowns - Rope Attachment (Negatives) 10 reps X 35kg X 4 sets.
- Overhead Triceps Extensions - Rope Attachment (Negatives) 10 reps x 35kg x 3 sets.
- Standing Dumbbell Triceps Extensions (Negatives) 10 reps x 17.55kg x 12 sets. Alternate and repeat both sides.
- Full Body Dips - 10 reps X 123kg x 4 sets.
- Barbell Preacher Curl (Negatives) - To Exhaustion - 30kg X 3 sets.
- Dumbbell Preacher Curl (Negatives) - To Exhaustion - 17.5kg X 3 sets.
- Barbell Wrist Curls (negatives)- 20 reps - 30kg X 3 sets.
- Barbell Overhand Grip Biceps Curls (negatives) - 35kg X 8 reps X 4 sets.
Be aware of your own limitations. If you choose to follow this or a similar program, work out which weights are best for you.