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Asian Amateur Championships IFBB, Masters, 2nd 2001
Asian Amateur Championships IFBB, Lightweight, 1st 2003
Asian Amateur Championships
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BY Mr.ASIYA 1994 YAZDAN RAD

Introduction

Are you satisfied with your current workout and nutritional progress? Do you see progress each and every week? Have you tried various training and nutritional programs and only find yourself tired, over trained and no further ahead then when you started?

If you answered yes to either of the first two questions or can't relate to the last, then you've either just started training or your part of a very small minority. The fact is most people have grown to accept the fact that growth is either very slow or non-existent, maintenance instead of progress becomes the goal. This just doesn't have to be. Lack a good sound knowledge is the culprit. In the following series, I'll try and address all of the variables that effect progress. I'll discuss training, nutrition, supplementation and other topics. I'll help you develop a blue print for Bodybuilding success for Real people and Real Life Results.

The topic we'll discuss in this first series will be TRAINING. This could quite possibly be the most abused and misunderstood area in all of Bodybuilding. There is more bogus information floating around out there than there are McDonald's. Almost every one over trains. In the following paragraphs, I will outline a workout that will seem unrealistic and definitely out of the norm in comparison to mostly all of  today's workout programs. However, if you opt to follow it and give it a try, you'll see results like you've never seen before. You'll actually begin making progress immediately and your goal will no longer be just maintenance. So keep an open mind and get ready to absorb some of the best workout information you've ever been given.

 Basic Workout Principles & Information

All exercises should be performed with perfect form at a slow to moderate complete 'fuel' speed. You should always maintain complete control over the weight or machine.

At the fully contracted point of any movement, you should stop the movement dead and hold the weight for a full second. This is called a 'static connection' and it should be performed on every rep of every set of every exercise.

All sets are performed to complete failure.

 Rep Ranges

Light Sets: 6-8 Reps (For warm up purposes only)
Moderate Sets: 4-6 Reps (For warm up purposes only)
Heavy Sets: 6-10 Reps (There are your complete failure sets)
Intensity and Form are the two key factors.
Take 1 full days rest in-between workouts, occasionally
you may need 2 days rest.
Light Aerobics is the only type of Aerobics you should do if you opt to do Aerobics. Light Aerobics would consist of the Life Cycle on level 1, the treadmill at 3 - 3.8 mph or walking at 3 - 3.8 mph. Your Aerobic sessions should be no longer than 25 - 45 minutes long. If you do light Aerobics on a training day, do so after your workout.
Switch around Exercises Regularly: In other words, on chest day, don't always do the same exercise. One week, use a flat bench; another week use the incline bench. Rotate all your exercises for all your body parts on a regular basis. This works best on a two or three week rotation. It will help to keep from hitting sticking points, and it will help to keep your routine from getting boring.
Record your workout in a notebook or journal. You will continue to get bigger and stronger everyday. Guaranteed!!!
Warm up enough to avoid any injuries prior to the start of your workout, but don't turn your warm up into a workout.
Your weight training time should be 20 - 30 minutes per workout or 2 hours max per week.
With this training approach, there is no need to hit abdominals separately. They get stimulated each and every workout, and any more would be blatantly overtraining them. Plus hitting abdominals directly tends to create a thickness around the waist that isn't aesthetically appealing.

The Workout Starting a bodybuilding program can be a daunting experience. You visit your local gym only to see intimidating, big armed men and lean, muscular women training with a serious attitude. You look around and are dazed by the expansive array of equipment. How dies it all work? Even the vocabulary seems like a foreign language: spotting, pyramid training, gastronomies, reps, and predication.
Whew! Would it help if we reminded you that even Arnold Schwarzenegger, perhaps the greatest bodybuilder of all time had a first day in the gym? If fact, we all did!


Getting Started

Great - you've decided to try bodybuilding. Perhaps you want to build mass, tighten up your midsection or slim down; those are all possible with strength training. Whatever your reason (and you should definitely write down your goals for starting and your realistic expectations of what you hope to achieve in the short and long term),m you should follow a clearly defined program.

Don't expect us to provide you with any so-called success; let's state for the record right now that some training methods are smarter and better than others, but nothing resembles a secret. Our role here is to teach and guide you through your first three months so that you can take your training to the next level and design a personal routine that meets your needs.

Is there one program that's right for everyone? No. Did you really expect that one routine would serve the needs of the female college basketball player who wants to make a more dominating presence on the court, the 45 year old businessman looking to firm his body and improve his health, and the young man interested in competitive bodybuilding? Every person who trains has different motivations, desires and genetic potential, and each must make his or her own adjustments in putting together a particular program. It's really not so difficult. But before you get started, here are some points you'll want to consider.

  1. Get a physician's release if you are over 40 or have had any sort of previous injury or impairment.
  2. Be realistic but positive. Assess your current condition and where you want to be in three months, one year and five years. Keep focused on your goals and know you'll achieve them.
  3. Commit yourself to three months before making any judgements about whether it's working or not. The truth is, you're probably a bit impatient, and sculpting your physique takes time. Changes take place incrementally, but three months is long enough to notice some significant changes in strength and size. Persistence and dedication are characteristics that all successful bodybuilders have in common. Do you?

Designing Your Exercise Program

Before getting into your program, you need to develop an understanding of how and why you're building your exercise routine. Although we've gone ahead and designed a program for you, just about everything in ti can be changed depending on your particular circumstances. Your primary objective here, as a beginner, is to build a solid foundation - and not just any training program will take you there in an efficient manner. Study the following points to better understand your bodybuilding program.

Body part Training

Bodybuilders group exercises by bodypart and train one muscle group at a time. Working one are with 1-3 exercises ensures that you train it thoroughly. Experience says that this type of training is the most efficient for bodybuilding. (Circuit training, on the other hand, allows you to do movements for different body parts back to back with no rest in between).

Every major muscle group should be developed to prevent muscle imbalance and the risk of injury. The major muscle groups include legs (quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and gluts), chest, shoulders, back (Trapezius, lats, erectors), abdominals and arms (biceps, triceps).

Exercises

You can choose from any number of movements that target a particular muscle group, but beginners should stick with the basics to develop a solid foundation. The first exercise you do for a given body part should be a compound movement. (A compound or multijoint movement, unlike an isolation exercise, has movement at two or more joints and thus brings in a greater number of assisting muscle groups. Note: Some body parts like biceps, triceps and calves can be worked with pre-dominatingly isolation exercises.)

Some basic movements can be done in a number of ways; for example, you can do a bench press with a barbell, with dumbbells or on a machine. Eventually, you'll learn how to do them all and use the in your training arsenal.

Two similar exercises can target a muscle differently. For example, the bench press is a good exercise for most of the chest, but the incline press (essentially a bench press done on an incline bench) works the upper pectorals more effectively. When you put exercises together to form a routine, you'll want to include those movements that hit the same muscle in different ways. That's why you normally include 2-3 exercises when you work each body part.

Weights

During the first couple of training sessions, you'll want to go pretty light just to get a feel for how to do the movement correctly. After you feel comfortable with the form, begin adding weight.

Even an experienced lifted should always do his first set as a warm-up with practically no weight to flush to target muscle and connective tissue with blood. On the second set, add a couple of small plates and do the exercise again. Was it still east? If so, and assuming you used good form, add more weight. If you struggled to reach 12 repetitions, add just a little bit of weight. (Adding weight on successive sets is called pyramid training and is one of the safest ways to train.)

Continue adding weight until it becomes tough to complete 8-12 reps. Your goal is to train in the range where you reach muscular failure at 8-12 reps. Once you find a challenging weight, stick with it. So you'll become stronger and be able to increase the number of reps. Once you can do 12, it's time to increase your training poundage by about 10%. At this heavier weight, you won't be able to do 12 reps, but with time you'll once again be able to. Keep working in this fashion.

The principle behind this type of training is known as overload. It states that for improvements to occur, you must impose a demand on your muscles greater than what they're accustomed to (for bodybuilding purposes, about two-thirds of your maximal strength). Your muscles compensate for this strain on the cellular level by adding protein to grow thicker and stronger. At that point, the same load is no longer sufficient to induce further changes, more load must be added. That is, you must progressively add training stimulus to make continued improvements.

Keep track of your training poundage by recording your weights, sets and reps in a training log alongside a list of your exercises.

Some bodybuilders swing and heave, cheating for the sake of pushing heavier weights. Remember, the name of the game here is not weightlifting, but rather bodybuilding.

Sets

A set is a combination of any number of reps of a single exercise. As a beginner, you'll normally want to do 1-2 light warm up sets of each movement (especially the first movement for a given body part) before doing 1-3 heavier sets. That equals 2-4 total sets per exercise.

Reps

A rep is a single execution of one exercise. if you do a set of 10 bicep curls consecutively, that's 10 reps. During your first week or two, keep the weights very light so that you can complete about 15 reps in good form. This is a change for you to practice good form while you work on your neuromuscular coordination and lean the proper 'feel' for the movement. Developing that feel with becomes even more critical later on because it will tell you if an exercise is working.

After that initial break-in period, to build size and strength you want to do 8-12 reps per set (after your warm-up set of 15 reps, which you should do at the start of each exercise). Use a weight that allows you to do the recommended number of reps and still reach muscle failure.

Muscle failure means that you cannot do any more reps with good form. If you can't do eight strict reps, the weight's too heavy. If you can do more than 12, the weight's too light. Adjust the weight for your next set. (Note: The numbers eight and twelve are not arbitrarily derived. Exercise scientists have conducted numerous tests and have found that working with a weight about 70% of your one-rep maximum produces the fastest results. Most bodybuilders can lift about 70% of their one-repetition maximum 8-12 times).

Though you don't have to train to muscle failure to grow, you need to come pretty close. Bodybuilders call this intensity. How do you know if you're close to working at 100% intensity? Simple: If you can do another rep with good form, do it! If you can do still another, do it.

After you build you base, you may want to experiment with a program that alternates periods of high reps (which build muscle endurance) to medium reps (builds muscle mass) with low reps (builds strength and power) and back up again. This is called cycling. The idea here is to progress to a higher level of strength each cycle. (Note: Advanced strength athletes like power lifters use slightly different training methods, most notably the number of reps that do bodybuilders. You'll get stronger as you build muscle, but training to maxim use strength isn't identical to the type of training that maximizes mass.)

Proper Form

We'll say this again and again, but it's far better to use a weight that allows you to perform the movement correctly than to cheat with a heavy weight that will, sooner or later, result in an injury.

Speed of Movement

Use a smooth, controlled motion during all phases of the lift. This deliberate rep speed produces the greatest results for bodybuilding purposes. Super-fast reps with ballistic movements and jerking can be harmful to muscles and connective tissues, while slow training accomplishes very little. In general, most bodybuilders use a formula that approximates a two-second positive contraction (raising the weight), a momentary squeeze of the muscle at the point of peak contraction, and a two-second negative contraction (lowering of the weight).

Breathing

Most people don't think much about breathing until they begin lifting weights, but it should still come naturally. Start each set with a deep inhalation and exhale as you push through the most difficult part of the lift. Inhale at the top (or the easiest portion of the lift) and exhale as you push.

Rest between Sets

In general, rest as long as it takes for you to feel recovered from your previous set. That normally ranges from 45-90 seconds. Larger muscle groups take a bit longer to recover; smaller muscle groups clear low pH levels are ready to go more quickly. Don't fall into the all too common mistake of talking with your buddies for 3-4 minutes between sets, during which time your muscle can become cold. This is counterproductive and lengthens the time you spend in the gym.

If you want to emphasize strength, take a little longer rest between sets. On the other hand, less rest means you won't be able to lift as heavy, but you'll be stressing your endurance. Of note: How much you can lift on a given set and the numbers of reps you do are directly related to the length of your rest period.

Use aFull Range of Motion

Use a full range of motion in your exercise movements. You want to work each target muscle through its natural range of motion for complete development and to prevent injury.

Training Frequency

Say you train your entire body on Monday. Should you do it again on Tuesday, or wait until Wednesday? The answer is that your body requires a minimum of 48 hours to fully recover after exercise, sometimes even longer. Physiological processes at the cellular level require rest and nutrients before you can train that same muscle group again. A good rule of thumb: If you're even slightly sore, you're not ready to train that body part again.

If you're an advanced bodybuilder and split up your workout into, for example, one day for upper body and another for lower body, you can train on consecutive days as long as you don't repeat the same workout. As a beginner, you don't want to go more than 96 hours (four days) without training the same muscle group again. Timing too infrequently results in sub maximal gains.

The answer for the beginner, then, is to train every 2-3 days (or three times a week). A Monday - Wednesday - Friday (or similar) schedule is ideal.

Training Duration

If you follow the exercises, sets, reps and rest prescription, you should complete your resistance training in about an hour. Never mind those two hour plus sessions; who could possibly maintain the high level of intensity and mental fortitude of a marathon training session? What matters is the quality of your workout measured by the intensity you create, not the length of time you spend in the gym. Remember that.

Workout #1: Chest & Triceps

Chest (1 Super Set): Perform two warm up sets of bent arm flies. The first set should be very light and the second should be moderate (approximately 60% of the weight you'll use for your all out set). For the Super Set, choose Flat Bench Flies, Incline Flies or Seated Fly Machine Flies (whichever one you warmed up with) and work 1 set to absolute failure. Immediately super set to either the Flat Bench Press, Incline Bench Press, or the Decline Bench Press, and with a narrow grip (shoulder width), perform 1 set to failure with your shoulders and elbows flared parallel.

This is the only exercise you'll do for chest. When you've completed this set, your chest will be completely stimulated. Any further movements or exercises would be considered overtraining and will eat into your recovery time.

Triceps (1 Drop Set): Choose 1 Triceps exercise. Pick a weight you feel you'll be able to perform 6 - 10 perfect reps, and work 1 set to failure. Immediately drop the weight by 50% and continue to work to complete failure. As with all sets, you should work every set to failure, however when you are able to perform 10 reps or more on any set, you should increase the amount of weight you are using at the next workout. In other words, for all exercises and set, 10 repetitions should be your graduating point. Just remember to always work every set to failure regardless of the rep count.

Now take one full days rest!

Workout #2: Hamstrings & Quads

Hamstrings (1 Drop Set): Choose one hamstring exercise. Perform two warm up sets. The first should be very light and the second should be moderate (approximately 60% of the weight you'll use on your all out set.) Next, pick a weight you'll be able to perform 6 - 10 perfect repetitions and work to failure. Immediately, drop the weight by 50% and continue to work to complete failure. That's all you need to do for hamstrings. Any zip you may have left in your hamstring you'll need for your compound quadriceps set. Just remember to write everything down and follow all the basic principles.

Quads (1 Super Set): For quads, you'll always super set using the leg extension first, followed by one compound exercise (either leg press, squats, hack squats, or smith machine squats). The idea is to pre-exhaust the quads with the leg extension, and then you'll be positive its your quads reaching failure first on your compound exercise, and not your glutes, back or other muscle groups. This is the main principle behind every super set in this entire workout. You should perform one light to moderate set of leg extensions and the compound exercise of your choice before you begin your all out set. Good luck, this one's a killer.

Now take one full days rest!

Workout #3: Calves & Shoulders

Calves (1 Drop Set): Choose one calve exercise. Do two warm up sets. The first warm up set should be very light. The second warm up set should be moderate (approximately 60% of the weight you'll use on your all out set). Next, choose a weight you can perform 6 - 10 repetitions with perfect form and work to failure. Immediately, drop the weight by 50% and work to complete failure. The purpose of drop sets here and throughout the workout is to stimulate every muscle fiber possible without overtraining. Believe it or not, your calves are finished.

Shoulders (1 Super set and 1 Set to Failure): For shoulders, your going to train your front and side delts first with a super set, and then you'll do one straight set to failure for your rear delts. Before starting, choose one type of lateral raise and choose one type of compound overhead pressing movement (like the Seated Frontal Barbell, or Dumbbell Presses). Warm up by doing one light to moderate set of each. Choose a weight for lateral raise that you can perform 6 - 10 perfect repetitions and work to failure. Immediately super set to the compound pressing movement and work to complete failure. You've completed front and side delts. Rest about 1 - 2 minutes, then choose a read delt raise, either machine or dumbbell. Perform one straight set to complete failure. Congratulations, you've completed your shoulders. They should be pumped and fried.

Now take one full days rest.

Workout #4: Back & Biceps

Back (3 Straight Sets, Includes Traps): The reasoning behind doing only straight sets for back is simple. The back is a large muscle group and to work it, you must recruit a lot of arm, in particular bicep help. Therefore, you most drop sets and super sets will guarantee bicep failure but won't guarantee total back failure. The answer to attacking the back is carefully thought out straight set pull down. Perform two warm up sets before beginning your all out set. The first warm up set should be very light. The second warm up set should be moderate (approximately 60% of the weight you'll use on your all out set). Next, perform one straight set to complete failure. You should be able to perform 6 - 10 repetitions.

Your next back exercise will either be a bent over reverse grip row or a machine row. Choose one. Perform one straight set of 6 - 10 repetitions to complete failure. Form is of the utmost importance and you should also be very aware of holding your static contraction for at least one second on every rep.

The final back exercise is the shrug for your traps. Choose either cable, dumbbell, barbell or machine shrugs. One light warm up set is advised on this exercise. Once you've completed your warm up, perform one straight set of 6 - 10 perfect repetitions to complete failure. Your back is finished. \

Biceps (1 Drop Set): By this point, your biceps should be somewhat pre-exhausted from your back workout. Choose one bicep exercise and perform one set of 6 - 10 perfect repetitions to complete failure. Immediately drop the weight by 50% and finish the biceps off by working to complete failure. Your biceps are finished, they should feel like they're about to blow through your skin.

Take one to two days off (Judged by how you feel).

Summary

This workout is based on the 'more is not better' philosophy. High intensity, low volume, and increased rest are the principles behind this workout. Any and all who've tried it have experienced success. Bodybuilding doesn't have to be a long and tedious process which yields little and slow gains. With this type of workout, you'll begin making progress as early as day one. Dorian Yates, Mike Mentzer, Arthur Jones and others have all written and talked about similar programs. Give this workout a try. I'm sure you'll see size and strength increases like you've never seen before. Add good nutrition, rest and supplementation (all of which we'll talk about in future issues) to the program, and your progress could be infinite. Until next time, training intense and smart, and drink your Critical Mass as soon as you’re done training.

Glossary of Terms

Feel Speed: A slow and steady speed which enables you to really feel the particular muscle you are working. This is often referred to as the mind / muscle link.

Fully Contracted Point: This is the halfway point in every repetition. At this point, the muscle is fully contracted and about to perform the negative portion or lowering of the weight.

Static Contraction: This occurs at the Fully Contracted Point just after the positive portion or raising of the weight has occurred. A Static Contraction is just simply pausing and squeezing for a full second at the Fully Contracted Point before the negative or lowering of the weight takes place.

Failure (Complete, Absolute, or just Failure): The point at which you are unable to perform another repetition with perfect technique and form. This is the point at which a spotter would usually help you finish you last repetition.

Perfect Technique and Form: The ability to perform an exercise in which the targeted muscles receives all or the majority of the work. Positive and Negative movements are nice and steady, and are 2 - 3 seconds each. Jerky movements, momentum bounces, arching and cheat motions are non existent. Control over the weight and movement is a necessity.

Intensity: Being able to put forth a concentrated effort and work to Complete Failure so as to generate enough muscle stimulus for growth to occur.

Super Set: Performing an exercise set to complete failure and immediately moving to another exercise with as little rest as possible (5 - 10 seconds) in between.

Drop Set: Performing an exercise set to complete failure and upon completion dropping or cutting the weight of the exercise and continuing on to Complete Failure with as little rest in between as possible.

Compound Movement: An exercise in which to hit the targeted muscle, you'll need to recruit the help of other supporting muscle groups.

Pre-Exhaust: To purposely fatigue a targeted muscle group so as to insure maximum stimulation and Complete Failure of the targeted group in the second portion of the Super Set.






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