How Often Should I Work A Muscle Group and Have I Reached a Plateau?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 27, 2008 11:04 PM GMT
    Hey guys,

    Ive been working out for about 2 years now, almost every day of the week.

    I do at least 2 different excercises 2 times a week for every muscle group besides abs. I do those every other day.

    I've been trying to switch up my exercises, but I always do 4 sets at 10 reps, moving up when I can do my last set of 10 without too much difficulty.

    Lately though, I've been talking to some people at the gym who do a muscle group a day, which means only working those muscles about once a week, but doing more exercises for each group.

    Is this better?

    Also, after about 6 months of working out I really noticed a difference and moved up weights quickly. Now though, it seems I'm kind of stuck. It takes me forever to move up even 5 pounds, and I haven't noticed that I am getting much bigger.

    My diet is sketchy and I do not sleep very much, which I know can be hurtful, but do you think my routine isn't varied enough? For the last 2-3 months I've been trying to do different exercises, instead of the same one's for each muscle group.

    When I started I looked like this:

    P1040847.jpg

    After a year, this:

    IMG_14s74.jpg

    And this was a few months ago:

    IMG_0148-1.jpg

    Notice how I got bigger from the first to the second, but not much from the second to the third.


    Thanks for any help. I learned how to work out basically from the internet so I'm probably just missing something.

    pj





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    Apr 27, 2008 11:26 PM GMT
    _pj_ said
    My diet is sketchy and I do not sleep very much, which I know can be hurtful, but do you think my routine isn't varied enough?


    You don't see a problem with this statement?

    You know your diet and your sleep patterns are bad, but yet you still seek answers by varying your workout?

    You're working out 7 days a week? Why not try 10 times/week? 15 times/week? More is better, right?

    Your issue is so not with your routine.

    1) Take two weeks off.
    2) Start going to the gym a maximum of 3 times a week.
    3) Start sleeping more
    4) Start paying attention to your diet.

    Stop worrying about your "routine." It's immaterial.

    Back to the Internet for you! *spank*

    icon_smile.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 28, 2008 12:30 AM GMT
    PJ: Diet is extremely important!!!! And so is sleep!!!

    Your body needs rest and sufficient NRG to grow. If you are lacking both you will not see the expected results after putting time in the iron house
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 28, 2008 12:51 AM GMT
    Can you type out an exact schedule that highlights when you target which specific muscle groups
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    Apr 28, 2008 2:22 AM GMT
    iguanaSF said[quote][cite]_pj_ said[/cite]
    My diet is sketchy and I do not sleep very much, which I know can be hurtful, but do you think my routine isn't varied enough?


    You don't see a problem with this statement?

    You know your diet and your sleep patterns are bad, but yet you still seek answers by varying your workout?

    You're working out 7 days a week? Why not try 10 times/week? 15 times/week? More is better, right?

    Your issue is so not with your routine.

    1) Take two weeks off.
    2) Start going to the gym a maximum of 3 times a week.
    3) Start sleeping more
    4) Start paying attention to your diet.

    Stop worrying about your "routine." It's immaterial.

    Back to the Internet for you! *spank*

    icon_smile.gif
    [/quote]

    bang on the money.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 28, 2008 3:14 AM GMT
    iguanaSF said[quote][cite]_pj_ said[/cite]
    My diet is sketchy and I do not sleep very much, which I know can be hurtful, but do you think my routine isn't varied enough?


    You don't see a problem with this statement?

    You know your diet and your sleep patterns are bad, but yet you still seek answers by varying your workout?

    You're working out 7 days a week? Why not try 10 times/week? 15 times/week? More is better, right?

    Your issue is so not with your routine.

    1) Take two weeks off.
    2) Start going to the gym a maximum of 3 times a week.
    3) Start sleeping more
    4) Start paying attention to your diet.

    Stop worrying about your "routine." It's immaterial.

    Back to the Internet for you! *spank*

    icon_smile.gif
    [/quote]

    Iguana I agree with most of what you are saying. However, being that he is still young, he should still be able to see maximal growth if he goes to the gym more than 3x per week (but at the same time he should DEFINITELY NOT work out everyday)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 28, 2008 3:39 AM GMT
    orthojock saidbeing that he is still young, he should still be able to see maximal growth if he goes to the gym more than 3x per week


    In theory yes. But that is counteracted by his statement that his "diet is sketchy" and he "does not sleep very much."

    Until he stops focusing on only 1/3 of the equation (lifting) and gets a handle on the other two (diet and sleep), I predict he's just going to uselessly burn calories by lifting more than 3x/week and remain at his current plateau.

    All of this is speculation without hard data tho, but I know where I'd place my money.

    K

    PS Oh, and could he possibly be more adorable? icon_smile.gif

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 28, 2008 3:52 AM GMT
    Yeah, sounds like you're overtraining. Cut back the weight training to 3x a week instead of every day. Your body needs time to rest, recoup, and grow. Keep working out this often and you'll burn off what muscle mass you gain and be stuck going nowhere.

    Plus it sounds like your body is getting used to whatever your workout is. What is your workout like anyways? In any case, you need to change up your routine, about every two months, so that your body doesn't adapt to what you're doing and is put in a state of shock.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 28, 2008 3:56 AM GMT
    iguanaSF said[quote][cite]orthojock said[/cite]being that he is still young, he should still be able to see maximal growth if he goes to the gym more than 3x per week


    In theory yes. But that is counteracted by his statement that his "diet is sketchy" and he "does not sleep very much."

    Until he stops focusing on only 1/3 of the equation (lifting) and gets a handle on the other two (diet and sleep), I predict he's just going to uselessly burn calories by lifting more than 3x/week and remain at his current plateau.

    All of this is speculation without hard data tho, but I know where I'd place my money.

    K

    PS Oh, and could he possibly be more adorable? icon_smile.gif

    [/quote]

    I see what you are saying! Yeah...that definitely makes alot of sense all things considered.

    Not secure enough with this whole experience yet to want to call that kid adorable and really mean it. Not sure I can go there!
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Apr 28, 2008 4:43 AM GMT
    Sounds like some good advice, as usual Iguana.

    I'll also second the adorable thing. I'm comfortable enough to go there icon_smile.gif
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Apr 28, 2008 10:27 AM GMT
    On the good news front...
    you have the kind of body that can be moulded into something fabulous
    you're relatively fat free and small boned which means any muscle gain will look that much bigger

    but.... you have to make it happen
    and it ain't going to happen without you eating right and pounding some serious weight
    2 exercises per body part isn't enough
    you'll need 4-5
    and twice a week per body part is fine
    when you hit a plateau it's your body telling you
    ok...I see your bet so it's time to raise the stakes
    change the exercises...change the machines you use
    the time you go to the gym or the gym itself
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 28, 2008 11:16 AM GMT
    Thanks for the advice guys!

    Heres a typical week for me:

    Monday:

    Chest - 4 sets of dumbell presses, 4 sets of inclined dumbell presses, 4 sets on the fly machine.

    Back - 4 sets of pulldowns, 4 sets on the row thing

    Abs - 4 sets on an ab machine, 80 crunches

    Tuesday:

    Biceps - 4 sets of dumbell curls, 4 sets of reverse curls? (where your hands or facing downward instead of upward)

    Triceps - 4 sets of skull crushers with a bar, 4 sets of pulldowns

    Shoulders - 4 sets of pushups on the smith machine (not pushups, but actually pushing the bar up icon_razz.gif ), 4 sets of standing dumbell rear raises

    Wednesday - Leg exercises... hehe


    The same patter starts over on thursday, except I do different exercises, like instead of dumbell presses, I'll do decline presses, ect. I work the same muscles the same number of times though.

    I'm a little confused. Iguana is saying to cut my workouts to 3 times a week, and GQjock is saying that I wont build muscle unless i do 4-5 different exercises for each muscle group and working them twice a week is fine.

    Is it just a difference of opinion or am I missing something?

    Thanks again for taking the time to help me, this is all very confusing. icon_rolleyes.gif

    Edit: As far as sleep goes, i'm currently getting maybe 4 hours a night, well, day icon_razz.gif. How much should I get? Also I struggle with my appetite.. I used to go for days without eating but now i eat at least once a day, most of the time twice. I never do breakfast. I try and take in 2000 calories a day, but sometimes i dont make it... (im in college so I don't have someone fixing my meals anymore, which has greatly changed my diet.. icon_redface.gif)
  • puttputt

    Posts: 254

    Apr 28, 2008 6:47 PM GMT
    Going to the gym only 3x a week has really worked for me. I used to go about 5x a week, but had to cut it down because of my school/work schedule this semester, so I started going less frequently but increased the intensity of my workouts on days that I do go.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 28, 2008 8:15 PM GMT
    Bro, you're missing one essential piece of advice here, its kinda been mentioned but not like it needs to be. I would be less worried about the frequency if you can get your diet and sleeping in order.

    The big thing I see is you that you need to do something called peridoization of your workouts. Your statement that you always do 4 sets of ten is your key problem. You need to change your set/rep scheme about every 4 to 12 weeks depending on results. My suggestion to you is to increase your weight and decrease the sets/reps. I would take 10 days off. This will allow some strategic deconditioning, basically meaning you can get growth again from less or similar weights. I would like you to try a weight that you can only lift 8 times for two sets for each exercise. The number of exercises should be at least 2 per body part, but more likely around 3 or 4. With the heavy weights though you aren't going to be able to do endless sets. I would stick to the total number of sets per workout to be 20 or less during this phase. Lift heavy like this for 4 weeks. Anytime you can lift more then 8 reps for 2 sets add weight.

    When you are done with this, then I would switch back to a hypertrophy specific lifting scheme, of three sets at 75%, 85% and 95% of your 1 rep max. So in other words, your first set you will lift 12 reps at 75%, your second set at 85% and 10reps and third set at 95% and lift to failure. If you're not sure of your one rep max and you can use one of the calculators on the internet to find out easily. Here is a link for a few calculators to figure this out. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/1rm.htm

    I really strongly recommend that you are keeping a log and recording everything you're doing for your lifts. If you want to add mass, every time you go to the gym you need to be setting a PR (personal record), meaning you are either lifting more weight or more reps then you did in the previous lift of the same muscles. When you get ready to start the second phase of this suggested methodology, the hypertrophy specific part you should also have lifts written out in advance as far knowing what weights you will be lifting for which sets. The more you treat this like a science the better luck you're going to have. As far as the eating thing, bro go over to fitday.com, register for a free account and start recording everything that goes in your mouth, and fine tune that, start eating for performance and planning for that as well as your lifts.

    I would like to tell you man, first off you're a great looking guy, you can do this. Some of the things I look for in a picture are things like the length of the bicep belly compared to the tendon length at the attachment to the elbow. Looking at this, I can see that you have long muscles compared to tendon length, this indicates that you have good genetic potential to get damn big if thats what you choose to do. You will get out of this what you put into it. To do it right you need to be dedicated to all aspects of this, eating, sleeping, pre-planning meals, hitting the protein, hitting the gym, tracking your diet, tracking your lifts, planning your lifts etc.

    Feel free to hit me back with any specific questions. I would also be happy to help you out with exercise selection if you want that help. Another big thing is that our body adapts to specific exercises performed a specific way pretty quickly, often times you need to shake up your exercise selection and lift heavy to bust through those plateaus.

    I hope this helps you out, and again feel free to ask any questions if you don't get anything I've said, or you want more help. I don't mind helping people if they have the dedication to hit that shit hard. You can do this bro, you just need to make up your mind that you're willing to do whatever it takes. When you do, you're gonna look killer good man. Best of luck to you.

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    Apr 28, 2008 8:34 PM GMT
    Oh jesus god bro...4 hours a day are you serious? why so little? are you not able to sleep, to busy, to stressed? whats the scoop with that. Its not normal, if this is an inability to sleep I recommend seeing the campus health clinic and having an MD do a thorough check up. For best results you need at least 8 hours a day man. It's during sleep that critical hormones like testosterone and growth hormone are produced. Your lack of sufficient sleep is no doubt part of your problem, and may be associated with the poor appetite. And your poor eating habits may be affecting your sleep. Your body says hey this guy is starving to death, he needs to stay up and watch for some damn food.

    Not eating breakfast is a disaster man for muscle growth. During your sleep, and for you a good part of your day, is spent fasting. When you do this, your cortisol levels go through the rough, muscle breakdown starts happening, and your rate of protein synthesis (muscle repair) crashes. You need to get some protein in your body first thing in the morning, and breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day to get your bodies chemical procesees fired back up. You need to eat 5 or 6 times a day for maximum muscle gain. You don't have your weight or any stats posted, but from what I can tell your maintenance calorie level, just to maintain what you have is probably somewhere between 2500 and 3000 calories a day if you don't do much of anything. If you are working out, walking to class, and generally staying active, you may need in excess of 4000 calories a day for best results. If you tell me more about your stats/weight and activity levels I can help you determine some of those things like your resting metabolic requirements for calories and your actual number needed for growth.

    Bro, you should just be glad you haven't gotten injured or sick running like this, I suspect the only reason that this hasn't happened is because you're 19 and in otherwise good health.

    Please know I am not trying to give you a hard time or lecture you here, I am trying to help, and your diet and sleep is frighteningly off balance and you're risking injury with this. Hit me back with some stats and I can try to help you with some calorie and food planning. Also let me know what the deal is with the 4 hours of sleep a night, so maybe I can help you with that as well. Do you take any protein or other supplements of any kind? Let me know on these things if you like and I will try to help you as much as I can.

    Later
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 28, 2008 8:49 PM GMT
    One thing you must remember is that everyone's body is different.

    I won't lecture you on sleep. I know it is hard to get good sleep in college. The trick is getting to bed on time. 4 hours is usually a cycle of sleep that you can wake up from. Try strecting it to 6 and giving your body the chance to rest. You will find your body will crave it more once it realizes it can actually get 8 hours.

    For me food is a huge thing. But eat the right kinds of foods. Pack some snacks in your bag so you have something to eat during the day. College dining halls can be a breeding ground for bad food and bad habits. Eat and then go to the dining hall on a full stomach. Take an assessment of what foods they feature regularly. There should be some staple foods you can depend on. Get in to a regular routine with your eating. Its all about planning.

    Unless you sleep and eat enough, you can work your ass off and see no returns. I think you will be amazed of your gains.
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    Apr 29, 2008 2:24 AM GMT
    Again, thanks for all your help! I'm planning to make some changes immediately.

    My diet and sleeping situation are, i think, just habits i've gotten into. I don't really seem to get hungry, so eating isn't really rewarding it me. As for sleep, I have a bad habit. icon_redface.gif I tend to go to school and do my work during the day, then go work out around 7. After that, I start playing a video game and lose track of time.. I was on it until 6am last night!

    Anyway, I am still confused about my routine. Some of you guys seem to recommend going only a few times a week, while others are saying im not doing enough exercises. (It would take me 2 or more hours to do 5 exercises per muscle group, doing 3 muscle groups a day!)

    Also, if I were to only go 3 times a week, would I try and do all muscle groups on those 3 days, or break it up, essentially exercising each muscle group once a week?

    When I get that worked out, Im planning on doing heavier weights at 8 reps, or maybe that 75%, 85%, 95% routine.

    Thanks again! icon_lol.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 29, 2008 8:53 AM GMT
    Two things:

    1) I want to stress again that the "routine" is almost always immaterial, ESPECIALLY in your case. Lifting is 1/3 of the equation. Sleep and diet are the other 2/3s. People are always hyper-focused on exercises and routines and splits. It's just messing around in the the margins. If your form is good, I don't care what your routine is. It should always be changing anyway. And most people could always use work on form -- even experienced lifters. The actual exercises and the order in which they are done? It JUST DOESN'T MATTER THAT MUCH!

    2) That said, you keep coming back to the "routine" so I'll give you one. But I'm saying it's so not the issue. I'll say it one more time just for emphasis...

    It is SO NOT THE ISSUE!

    OK, here's a routine:

    Workout every other day. Always take a break day in between each lifting day. Come up with a 4 day split. Here's one:

    1: Legs
    2: Shoulders/Traps/abs
    3: Chest/Back/abs
    4: Bis/Tris/abs

    Here's another:

    1: Back/Bis/abs
    2: Chest/Tris/abs
    3: Shoulders/calves/abs
    4: Quads/hams

    I could go on. You could try 3 day splits too. Does it matter? Only at the margins.

    As for exercises, I think you know where I'm going. Does it matter? Nope. The rule is: be efficient. Always have perfect form. Keep it to an hour. Any time something seems easy or boring or if you don't seem to be hitting the target muscle -- change up.

    As for number of reps/sets heavy/light? What do you think I'm going to say? Does it matter? icon_smile.gif Nope! Try them all. Spend a month doing moderate weights for as many reps as you can. Sets? Try 4 short ones. Try 3 medium ones. Try 2 long ones. Try one really mad-ass-long-until-you're-dead one. People will argue back and forth endlessly about sets and reps and poundages and is HIT better than high volume blah blah -- it's just fussing around the margins. They are all equally interesting. Try them all out at one time or another. Keep changing up when you feel you're not getting the response from your body you're expecting.

    OK, I've nattered on enuf. We both need to get some sleep!

    K
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 30, 2008 2:27 AM GMT
    Look bro, I respect everyone's right to an opinion here. A lot of the stuff has been valid, some maybe less so. I don't claim to know all, but I can tell you I am taking my certification test for American College of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer in a few weeks. So far I've passed all the practice exams. Do I know everything, absolutely not, do I know enough for the ACSM (see above) to probably certify that I am an expert in personal training? probably. That being said I am not arrogant about it and I'm always trying to learn more through the latest research and personal experience and reading the latest journals about 20 hours a week.

    Your biggest problems are diet and sleep. I recommend you really take some time to decide if your priorities are video games or working on your physique, the two are pretty incompatible. I understand though how they can draw you in, keep you up late and distract you from even being hungry. If you must play, then set a timer and start limiting yourself to an absolute maximum amount of time per day, which should should be small enough not to interfere with sleep or diet. You're going to need this self discipline to be successful at what you're trying to do. So we covered that and I don't doubt that these two factors are probably 2/3 of the problem.

    In my experience doing 45 sets a day 5 days a week as some may have suggested is the surest route to injury, over-training, and failure to grow. You simply cannot do that kind of volume 5 days a week, unless you're juicing. So please get any idea of 15 exercises a day out of your head.

    Your routine is in Fact A BIG deal. A routine like the one above that I've said is a disaster is the surest way to over-tax your bodies resources and end up disappointed with your results, in order to do that much you would have to lift so light that it would do little good.

    Second the body will adapt to specific exercises in specific weight/rep ranges. The body is amazing at adapting to environmental stresses, and if you've been doing this same routine for a year your body has adapted to it, and you are not going to get your best gains by doing this. You need to change up your routine every couple months roughly speaking.

    Let me try to explain this in another way, there is lifting for strength, there is lifting to add mass, and there is lifting just to burn calories. Typical strength lifting involves few sets with very heavy weights at low reps, below 8 at the most. Building for mass, for most people occurs between the rough range of 8 to 12. For simply burning calories greater then 12 or 15 reps are used. Now of course there are a few exceptions, low weight final hypertrophy (mass building) sets can use higher reps to create lactic acid build up in the muscle and increase the pump, but that is for a final set only. Of course everyone is a little different, some people might gain mass best between 6 and 8 reps. What I've said above is a general figure for the vast majority of people.

    Now think of it this way, for any given amount of strength there is a maximum amount of muscle mass that will grow. Think of it like a glass, your glass is your strength, and your mass is the fluid inside that glass. At some point that glass has all the fluid it can hold, so you have to get a bigger glass. This means that to get over plateau's sometimes you have to go heavy to build strength to increase the size of the glass so you can hold more muscle mass. This is why I am recommending to you, to do a sane program of heavy weight, low reps, low sets, hit each muscle group a maximum of three times per week, giving the muscle group a day in between workouts to recover.

    Make sure that you aren't skimping on your leg exercises compared to your upper body. Its your lower body work that also brings about the greatest testosterone release.

    If you would like me to get specific on training program here you go.

    Day 1 Quads/Hamstrings
    Day 2 Shoulders and Traps
    Day 3 Back, Biceps
    Day 4 Chest, Triceps, Calves
    Abs every other day.

    You will notice that I used day 1, day 2, etc instead of Monday, Tuesday etc, the reason being is that this program is designed to allow you to choose your off days when you need them, it allows greater flexibility and because of the way the program is designed, even if you repeated the cycle back to back, there is very little chance of over-training. Lets face it, in your situation until your diet and sleep stabilize and for that matter as long as you're in college a little flexibility on when to take an off day can be useful. Also you should notice that no matter where you take your off days, you are still going to hit each muscle group at least twice in every 7 day period.

    I personally have big time problems with any programs that put shoulders and chest, or chest and shoulders on subsequent days. The reason for this is that the anterior deltoid (front shoulder), and for that matter the triceps as well are very heavily recruited when you do chest work, so doing those on back to back days is not the best way to get maximum intensity and appropriate rest for those muscles. I could on at length about the all the specific anatomical reasons for the reasons I write this program like this, but I don't want to bore you, or make this longer then need be, its sufficient to say there are numerous reasons like the ones above for this specific split pattern.

    So to bring all this together, we'll use some of the same exercises and few new or slightly altered ones. So we'll stick with your exercise choices, just in different rep and set ranges.

    First take 10 to 14 days off, eat well, sleep well, and put the brain blender video game system on ice.

    Next for 4 to 6 weeks depending on your response to the program do this strength program

    Day 1 - Quads - you didn't say what exercises you are doing for these: Do two sets of each exercise for six to eight reps. If you can do more then eight reps add weight, if you can't get six in, drop the weight back. Track your progress on all this. You don't need a huge number of exercises here. Since a lot of leg work hits both you can probably get away with 5 or 6 exercises, 2 sets, for a total 12 sets. Believe me with a strength emphasis this is enough.


    Day 2. Shoulders and Traps. Be careful with the shoulders and strength routines, this is the one training zone that can be easy to injure if you over do the weight. Shoulders respond better to a little higher reps so try to keep the shoulder work around 8 reps, and two sets of each exercise. I think your exercise selection could improve on this particular area. Here are my suggestions:

    alternating dumbbell shoulder press
    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/DeltoidAnterior/DBShoulderPress.html
    (only instead of doing exactly like in the demo, do them one arm at a time sitting, alternate your arms, you will be able to work the muscle more intensely

    Dumbbell Upright Row,
    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/DeltoidLateral/DBUprightRow.html

    Dumbbell Raise
    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/DeltoidLateral/DBRaises.html


    Dumbbell frontal raises, http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/DeltoidAnterior/DBFrontRaise.html


    Dumbbell Shrugs
    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/TrapeziusUpper/DBShrug.html

    DAY 3 BACK AND BICEPS Same as Day 1 - 2 sets, 6 to 8 reps, add weight if over 8, subtract weight if not getting 6.

    PULLUPS/CHINUPS
    If you can do pull ups/chin ups do as many as you can for two sets. If you can't do the pullups then do the
    Lat Pulldowns = pull up/chin up grip


    Seated Cable Rows
    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/BackGeneral/CBSeatedRow.html

    Dumbbell Bent Over Row
    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/BackGeneral/DBBentOverRow.html

    Straight Arm Dumbbell Pullover
    http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/dumbbell-exercises.htm

    Incline Dumbbell Curls
    http://www.exrx.net/WeightExerc
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 30, 2008 3:40 AM GMT
    Yeah. What he said.

    icon_smile.gif

    K
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 30, 2008 10:48 AM GMT
    Thanks so much Iguana and YounghungSFSD!

    The reason I was focusing so much on the routine is that I know about the sleep and diet, its just a matter of DOING it! icon_redface.gif

    I really want to start the new routine, is it really necessary to take some time off?

    thanks, pj icon_wink.gif
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    May 05, 2008 6:51 AM GMT
    PJ, as far as taking some time off, since you haven't been eating and sleeping so well, this is absolutely necessary. If you want to do something you can do some limited cardio, or some recreational activity, racquetball, tennis, bicycling, if you just want to keep active.

    Instead of seeing this as a "do I have to" try looking at it like this; I am about to dedicate a ton of effort and discipline to something that is very important to me. I've been spinning my wheels doing it my way, and I am willing to try something new, so when I start it, I want to be at 100% of my very best to give this new methodology the best chance of giving me top of the line results for all the effort I am going to put in. In order to give my 100% its important my body is well rested and well fueled.

    Not to mention this technique of taking time off is used by many, many professional bodybuilders and trainers alike, because it provides for a huge benefit. The technique is called "strategic deconditioning" because by following this strategy of allowing a very slight deconditioning, your body will mildly reverse its adaptation to lifting a certain weight range, and this means you can again get growth from even less weight then you were lifting before you took your break. Further, I know some professional championship bodybuilders might only lift for a certain muscle group every 12 days or so. Always remember that its the gym and the lifting that provides the catalyst for growth, but growth happens during your time off, not during your time in the gym.

    So do you have to? You don't have to do anything you don't want to, however, I think in your particular situation its not only desirable but very important. I think its beneficial to you and your ability to make progress with the new training plan and will help a great deal.

    It would be awesome if you kept a training log and kept us posted on how you're doing. I am looking forward to hearing that you made some great progress with this.
    Good luck PJ.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2008 6:38 AM GMT
    Just want to weigh in here...

    First, I don't agree that the biggest difference is between pics 1 and 2. For me, you look much better in pic three than either of 1 and 2. Your pecs especially - just look perfect to me.

    Also, I have been a lurker on RJ for a while, mostly for the personals. But I just discovered the forums, and I have to say: What a great community of folks here. Everybody is really looking out for everybody else - and its so refreshing to see the high quality of discussion going on here - compared to the rest of the interweb anyway.

    PJ - I cant give any particular advice with the workout, but please take some time off, and cut down on your videogames. I love GTA IV but I don't play it more than 2-3 hours a day, and I don't go to college (or have a job, ahem...). Sounds like your grades will suffer before your body will, and you only get one shot at college, realisticly.

    Steve