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Strength Training Help
This Guide is mainly for Strength gains during training with some added information for fighters.
A full nutritional guide will be appearing shortly…
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Beginners Guide To Bodybuilding……………………MMA03-01
Basic Strength Training……………………MMA04
Dual Factor Training……………………MMA05
Omens of Overtraining……………………MMA07
I have been strength training for several years now and have researched the area heavily to have an understanding of how to achieve goals in strength training.
In this guide I have trawled through the internet looking for good advice for you guys that I know has worked as I have used the advice myself and seen results.
The advice here is not from commercially run magazines with hidden agendas, but by people who regularly strength train themselves and people who are experts in their respected fields with my added input along with theirs throughout the guide.
Strength training is not bodybuilding which is why there is a beginner’s guide to bodybuilding in this section (MMA03-01).
Bodybuilding is about isolating the muscle and working it for definition reasons.
Strength training is about getting a certain amount of weight from point A to point B which is why it is ideal for MMA as if you lose your fight at least you have the power to lift over the guy’s car.
A six-pack may impress the ladies but it won’t win you a MMA fight.
Good luck with your goals and remember:
You can train all you want but if you’re not eating the right food you won’t see better and more consistent results.
Oh and if you do see an improvement remember to hit the button to the left and give me some positive rep.
If you don’t see any improvements… go play some other sport such as darts or snooker.
I Welcome all forms of feedback about this guide, however if you’re going to be negative at least do so in a constructive way.
I would greatly appreciate it if you personally have anything you feel is missing from this guide that needs to be addressed here. PM me with the material and I will add it to the guide immediately.
GENERAL TIPS (MMA03)
Take a read of the Bodybuilding for beginners guide below as it does include many gym myths and such that are useful for strength training/nutrition etcetera as well, however here is some general tips for those wishing to strength train.
Many people have horror stories related to the exercises I and others recommend however when done correctly they are the most beneficial.
Isolation training may make muscles appear better but believe me I’d rather fight a bodybuilder than a powerlifter.
The three simple exercises in this guide under basic strength (MMA04) include so many muscles when performing just one basic movement of the body its unreal which is why technique is the most important as misdemeanour when performing these exercises can lead to temporary and or permanent injury so I’d strongly advise using very LOW weights to start off with, in fact use NO weight at all to start off with, get used to technique and the actual manoeuvres that are required.
Once you are comfortable performing the actions, add some weight slightly (even if it feels easy with low weights, gradually progress0 this will limit the danger.
Even if you see guys lifting heavier weights in the gym and you feel awkward on light weights, throw your ego in your changing locker before you enter the weights room.
The bar should go in a groove that is created when you hold your arms back between the posterior and medial head of your deltoids and right below the bulk of your upper traps. It’s a little bit of a stretch for some people with bigger frames so a wider grip could be better with the elbows high, I grip the bar fairly close but wear elbow supports as I sometimes suffer being in this tight. If you have a medium to small frame you can try keeping your head up and your elbows as far back as you can and down, the bar should stay put. With a closer hand spacing you stay tighter and in better control of the bar. Try and keep upright with your abdominals flexed. I squeeze my abs hard against my belt at the start of the lift and find it easier to un-rack the weight this way.
If your used to having the bar high on your traps, trying to squat with the bar low on your back, this will feel strange at first but with time gets easier. Your balance will be affected having the bar in this area above the traps. I used to squat with a high bar placement and I used to get a lump at the bottom of my neck from where the bar was rubbing. I had to start from scratch to improve my bar placement, I just stuck with 60 kg's on the bar for weeks until I got it right.
When I set up for the squat I position my feet pointing out, I find I get a lot more from my hips and glutens. Try and position your feet at a ten to two angle. I find hitting
Seated calves heavy once a week helps your stability on the squat, I dropped this exercise for a few weeks last year and my foot position was all to cock.
Try to wear a top or t-shirt that will let the bar sit nice on your back, I've seen people wearing hoodies and lycra tops it just makes your squat more difficult. Use plenty of chalk on your back, so the bar won’t keep moving around and is snug as you will feel stronger. As for what to wear on your feet this topic is debatable, I’ve used a boot with a heel but I find I lean forward a lot and my squat is hunched over. Inzer make a nice squat shoe (http://www.inzernet.com/)with a heel if you prefer that style of squatting, my training partner uses cat's and can get away with this type of squatting. I like to use a flat footed shoe, Metal make a nice squat and deadlift shoe (www.gometal.com) that grips the floor and give you lots of stability. This type of shoe stops me from leaning over in the squat.
Knee wraps can add 20-30kg's to your squat, the best on the market are Titan, Inzer and Metal. I have recently used the Metal triple black line and they are good if they are wrapped extremely tight. I lately have been using them for my lighter sets, for my heavier sets I find the Inzer red and black iron wraps are the strongest. They could also save your knees from years of abuse.
I think a good power belt keeps your body upright when squatting improving your technique. You could add a few kg's to the squat just by using a belt. Don’t forget to add a few set's without a belt to keep your lumbar muscles nice and strong. If you find it a pain tightening your belt you could try a lever/buckle belt that you can adjust to fit your size. It’s a lot easier to use and it just clips shut.
Although gloves in my opinion are not a necessity when the weight you are lifting is comfortable and undamaging on the hand, a lot of weights are damaging when tight-gripped and cause the skin to shred.
Using gloves can stop your hands from shredding the skin on the palm but if you’re not using the right gloves can also decrease the grip you have on the weight therefore decreasing improvements.
If using gloves try avoiding the cotton/leather gloves as they do not last long and do not improve performance much.
Neoprene gloves improve performance and more importantly improve grip when compared with cotton/leather.
I recommend Weight Lifting Gloves - Weightlifting Gloves - FREE s&h for hand support.
I cannot go without wrist support. I used to always get aching wrists, very slow recovery from my day’s routines until I started using wrist straps.
They tighten around your wrist enabling your body to take care of the weight not your wrist (usually resulting in damage). Newgrip (mentioned above) sell wrist straps with their neoprene hand supports however you can pick up wrist straps in most sports retailers.
Beginners Guide To Bodybuilding……………………MMA03-01
NO SUCH THING!!! Doing a hundred crunches will strengthen the abs, but won't do anything to the fat. Only through hard work, cardio, and a healthy diet will you achieve this.
HIGHER REPS = MORE DEFINITION AND "TONENESS”
The truth is, higher reps will NOT tone your muscles or make them more defined. Once again, this is having a low body fat %. Higher reps will work on endurance though and is great for some athletes and marathon runners.
GAIN MUSCLE AND LOSE FAT
When we all start out lifting, we have this lucky gift of being able to lose fat yet get muscle at the same time. Over time, this completely goes away. I notice a lot of posts are "oh my goals are to lose the old gut while getting my chest bigger...” This isn't going to happen unless you are a beginner (a.k.a newbie) or on steroids. Think about it. How can you gain muscle on a calorie deficit and/or lose fat on a calorie surplus? Once you feel you gotten to the point where you can no longer do the above, then you have a choice of doing a cutting or bulking phase.
THE MORE THE BETTER (RIGHT?)
Ever hear the phase "muscle grow outside the gym". Well, this phase fits in right here. When people first start out lifting, they tend to think that more is better. This is definitely not the case. Your muscles and body needs time to recover. Also, around an hour or so (differs from everyone); cortical is released from the body which can actually kill off muscle tissue and cause muscle catabolism. This can be prevented if you train smart. Do no more then a 5 day split training each muscle once a week (smaller ones twice most) and working out no more then an hour. Now don't get me wrong, everybody is different and people respond to different methods, principals, techniques, etc. But this most likely all you need to do. Most people say "oh, I'm training each body part 2x a week and only have one rest day and getting good results" but what they don't realize is that they aren't giving their body (central nervous system) full time to recover as well as their muscles. Even though muscles only need 48-72 hours to recover, they still don't recover fully which is why it benefits you to take a week off every 2-3 months.
I DO CARDIO FOR MY LEG WORK..THAT'S ALL I NEED
The truth is legs also need heavy anaerobic sets just like the upper body. Running is to aerobic to call it a leg "mass builder". Besides, the best exercise known to us bodybuilders is for legs (SQUATS!). By the way, chicken legs and a huge upper body will look very unproportional and kind of weird.
I DIDN'T GET A PUMP OR WAS SORE THIS MORNING...
"Pumps" and soreness in your muscles doesn't mean too much (for hypertrophy [ muscle growth]). I could get a good pump from picking a weight and lifting it for 100x. This will probably deal way more with endurance then hypertrophy. Same thing goes with soreness. The real way you can tell if your workouts are good is over time.
Now lets say your goal is to look nice and thin and get rid of the old gut and get abs by the summer times Here you are going too need to start reducing your calories, increasing protein, decreasing saturated fats and carbs.
Some diets where people got good results from: Atkins diet, keto diet
Here are some estimations to help you figure out your calories and protein needs:
Calories: bodyweight x 11-13
Protein: bodyweight x 1.2-1.4
The key here is too keep saturated fats in moderation. Don't totally eliminate them from your diet. You still need some. Also, don't go overboard with decreasing the carbs (unless you are on keto which requires you too). Depending on your metabolism, try to split this into 4-6 smaller meals over the course of the day.
You are also going to have to start doing some cardio. Start out with one short cardio session. By starting out with a lot of cardio days, you are only hurting yourself and looking for an injury. Each week, start increasing it until you get around 20-45 minutes. You might also want to look into HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) cardio. Don't let the time (12-15 minutes) of these cardio sessions fool you. The sessions are very intense.
Training splits should stay the same. Like I said before, reps shouldn't go higher. I prefer a 3 day split while cutting because it is easier to fit in cardio and easier to recover while under a calorie deficit.
Some good supplements too look are: whey protein, multi vitamins, glutamine, and fat burners (WARNING: only take a fat burner if you are in good cardiovascular condition and have good blood pressure with no history of bad cardiovascular health).
A way you can minimize muscle loss is not decreasing the calories all over night. Don't just decrease your calories all in a day. Your body has to get used to what it has. Slowly decrease your calories by 200-300 each week until you get to your desired calories, carbs, and saturated fats.
How many people out there no matter how hard they try, can't gain any muscle? There are a few reasons why this is so. Are you over training? Are you eating enough? Are you getting enough sleep? Etc.
Most people have a good workout, but ignore there diet. Like I said before, you must be eating. Take a look at these estimations:
Calories: bodyweight x 19-20
Protein: same as cutting
Keep carbs high too around 300-450 gram range (depending on bodyweight). If you limit saturated fats and bulk cleanly, you will limit the time you need to cut and minimizing muscle loss. Try to eat this in a matter of 5-7 meals.
If you are getting too fat (do not do this if you aren't gaining at all) throw in a cardio session or two during the week.
If you are having trouble eating during class, eat a big breakfast and keep things that can be sealed like powerbars, peanuts, mrb shakes/bars in your locker.
FitDay - Free Weight Loss and Diet Journal and CalorieKing - Diet and weight loss. Calorie Counter and more. are both great links for nutritional breakdown of certain specific foods.
Here I would recommend a 4-5 day split. There is a ton out there. Anyone will pretty much work as long as you are eating & sleeping enough, and not overtraining. Most people respond best to the 8-10 and 6-8 rep range. Some people respond better to lower reps like the 4-6 and/or higher reps like the 10-12. Anything lower then 4 IMO, is for strength gains,
Some good supplements to look into are: whey protein, multivitamins, creatine, bcaa, liver tabs, zma and L-glutamine.
When working out, you want to try and stick with heavy compound movements.
Back- Deadlifts, rowing movements, chinning/pull-ups
Legs- Squats, stiff legged deadlifts, calf raises
Shoulders - Shoulder presses (standing/seated, Arnold, DB/BB,etc) ISOLATION: raises
Chest - Bench press, Dips, ISOLATION flyes and crossovers
Biceps - Close-grip chinups, ISOLATION curls
Triceps - Close-grip bench press, skull crushers, ISOLATION tricep pushdowns
Traps- shrugs, upward row
Abs- weighted & decline crunches, hanging leg raises, lying side bends and twist crunches (obliques)
Here are some good websites for videos on proper form and exercises:
Exercise and Posing Video's
ExRx Exercise & Muscle Directory
Have a protein shake (Whey protein shake) and some sort of simple sugar like honey and/or dextrose after your workouts.
I recommend every month or two changing up your split. This will avoid a plateu when you no longer can gain anything. You can do something simple like superset or totally rearrange your split. Some great things to do are: pyramid (both up and down are good), supersets (and all variations), forced reps, down the rack, negatives (warm up properly before this), drop sets, etc. Bump up your calorie intake, protein, and carbs as well.
BASIC STRENGTH (MMA04)
The squat is a lower body exercise used in strength training. It is also a competitive lift in powerlifting and an essential movement in the sport of weightlifting. The exercise's main emphasis is on the quadriceps and the glutes, but it also involves the hamstrings, the calves, and the lower back. The squat is often called "the King of exercises" by those who believe it capable of inducing more and faster muscle growth than any other exercise.
The squat is performed by bending the legs at the knees and hips, lowering the torso between the legs, and then reversing direction to stand up straight again. The torso remains relatively upright throughout the movement. It acts as a supporting structure, unlike its role in the deadlift. Proper technique is critical, otherwise serious injuries or gradual injury over a period of time can occur. The back must be kept straight and never rounded otherwise excess strain can be placed on the spine and cause serious injury. Lifting belts can be used to help support the lower back.
For full video footage of the Squat as performed by Chris Jenkins (who has given advice in this guide) visit the youtube video of him lifting 370kg’s here:
YouTube - chris jenkins 370kg squat
The feet should be flat on the floor, with even distribution of weight between the heel and the ball of the foot during eccentric muscle action. In order to reach a range of motion beyond parallel, individuals without sufficient ankle flexibility may try putting a flat board beneath the heels to artificially improve their flexibility. Similarly, a wedge shaped board may be used, allowing the entire foot to remain in contact with a single surface, improving stability over the first technique. Both methods are short-term fixes and require that regular stretching and a full range of motion be employed to maintain and increase flexibility to the desired levels with the ultimate aim that the board's use be eliminated. In the sport of weightlifting, a specifically designed squat shoe that has a heel elevated by an encased wooden block is commonly worn. Some experts discourage the use of a board or heel, however, because it may lead to a breakdown of proper form. In any squat, even one performed without these depth-increasing aids, the lifter should take care to exert force from the heel of the foot and not from the toes during concentric muscle contraction in order to maintain balance and keep the focus on the muscles of the thigh.
To avoid the chance of getting stuck under the bar, heavy barbell squats are best performed either inside a power cage or in the presence of one or more spotters, who can help to safely return the barbell to the squat rack at the end of the set if the lifter is unable to do so.
The Deadlift is a weight training exercise where one lifts a loaded barbell (or, in the case of the trapbar deadlift, a loaded trapbar) off the ground from a stabilized bent-over position. It is one of the three gauges of powerlifting, and is an excellent exercise for overall body development if done properly.
The deadlift is a compound movement that works all of the major and most of the minor muscles in the abdomen and lower body, with emphasis on the Erector spinae, lower back and back, along with the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteus maximus. The remaining muscles are involved in stability control. The areas that garner the most benefit from this are primarily the Erector spinae, lower back and back along with the hips, thighs(especially hamstrings), buttocks, calves and to some extent, the trapezius, latissimus dorsi and forearms. It is, in a sense, the purest single event test of strength because it is one of the few lifts of dead weight (weight lying on the ground). In most other lifts the weight changes direction or starts in the air and several other athletic skills such as balance, coordination are emphasized. For example, both Olympic weightlifting events require a great deal of athletic skill in addition to strength. In addition, it is commonly believed to be the oldest test of strength dating back to cultures who competed at lifting the heaviest stones.
For a video on youtube of Andy Bolton (world DeadLifting record holder) performing the deadlift, check here:
YouTube - World record deadlift 1003lb andy bolton
Improper form can precipitate new conditions, aggravate existing ones, and possibly cause injury, especially the heavier the weight one lifts. Failure to keep the back straight during the movement causes undue stress to the spinal discs, by pinching the front and leaving a gap at the back, forcing the internal fluids to compress towards the back, and potentially causing at least one herniated disc. This is especially true of the lumbar region of the spine, which is designed to bear the bulk of the compressive forces on the upper body.
In addition, the compression can squeeze the spinal roots of the spinal cord, causing nerve-conditions like lumbago or sciatica.
A good method to avoid lower back injuries is to keep the abs braced using the Valsalva manoeuvre. This will build anterior support for the spine.
Some weightlifters use special belts to keep their lower back stabilized. Whether or not these belts actually prevent injuries is debated. Furthermore, one school of thought suggests that the use of belts should be minimized, as it does not allow for the development of one's stabiliser muscles, thereby increasing the potential of serious injury.
Using an underhand grip is potentially hazardous on heavy deadlifts as a supinated grip shortens the biceps muscle and increases the load on it, possibly leading to a rupture of the muscle or connecting tendons. The risk is most notable in individuals without full flexibility in the elbow joint.
Feet shoulder width apart
Symmetrical overhand grip
Bar against shins
Shoulders vertically over the bar
Back flat, pelvis and head aligned with spine
Scapula retracted and depressed
* Reverse the grip (over/under) when loading causes slippage. Use of straps should be minimized (for forearm size development in the bodybuilder, and grip strength in the athlete)
Get Set: (Immediately prior to take-off)
Extend the legs slightly to take up slack (tension on the bar)
Brace the stomach muscles as if you are about to take a hit there. This creates a positive abdominal pressure to support the lift
Raise tension in the upper back, where scapula position is to be held
Take Off: (First pull from ground to just above the knees)
Extend the legs, imagining pushing the legs through the ground, using glutes as prime mover
As the legs extend, the trunk angle does not change (stays at the same angle as in start), i.e. do not raise the hips faster than the shoulders, even slightly!)
The upper back is maintained in a flat position (scapula retracted/depressed)
Bar stays in contact with the skin at all times
Drive with legs, remember the back is a stabilizer!
Second Pull: (From just above the knees to standing)
Now you stand up, forcing the hips through with drive from the gluteals
Bar stays in contact with the skin at all times
Finish in an upright position (no need to hyperextend the trunk or roll the shoulders!)
If the upper back position is held throughout, the shoulders will be down and back in the finish position automatically
Unlike most exercises (including the squat), the eccentric phase of the deadlift is not a reverse mirror image of the concentric. Less importance is placed on the lowering phase unless there is a specific need; most lifters will lower the bar as quickly as possible while maintaining control
The bench press is a form of weightlifting which primarily focuses on the development of the pectoral or chest muscles. The lifter lies on his/her back on a bench while pushing up and lowering down a weighted bar directly above the chest. While the exercise is primarily intended for the development of the chest, or pectoral muscles, it also helps develop the anterior deltoids, serratus anterior, coracobrachialis, as well as the triceps.
I prefer using the dumbbell bench press as it has more balancing positives which are great when fighting in MMA.
Using the barbell for bench pressing is in my opinion regarded as better for increasing the pectoral regions of your body.
Sit down on bench with dumbbells resting on lower thigh. Kick weights to shoulder and lie back. Position dumbbells to the sides of the upper chest with elbows under dumbbells.
Press dumbbells up with elbows to the sides until arms are extended.
Lower weights to the sides of the upper chest.
For a video of Ronnie Coleman performing the dumbbell bench press check here:
YouTube - Ronnie Coleman 200lb Dumbbell Bench Press
DUAL FACTOR (MMA05)
Dual Factor training is extremely effective for intermediate/advanced trainees. Dual Factor is essentially about volume loading, then deloading, then intensity loading. The volume loading brings you to the brink of overtraining (over-reaching), the gains of which are seen with a deload and intensity phase. The intensity phase allows the lifter to increase the weight closer and closer to their maximum with lower volume. The rebound effect from the volume phase compounds the effects of a low volume, high intensity training routine during the intensity phase. Dual Factor training is not a specific training program, but rather a methodology of how to work out your training programs.
First of all, let's briefly explain some key elements of Dual Factor training:
Volume - the amount of work you're doing (typically the number of work sets).
Progressive Resistence - the idea of increasing the load over time (either by increased weight, increased reps, increased sets, decreased rest periods or a combination of these).
Periodisation - Changing up your training program (generally with respect to volume and intensity).
Loading - Using progressive resistence to (over a period of time) push yourself to your limits and beyond (i.e. to the brink of overtraining, but without actually overtraining).
Deloading - Backing off, enabling your body to recover.
Intensity - Traditionally speaking, this is purely a percentage of your 1RM. However, typically people refer to intensity as how close to failure you go.
Now let's talk about an example implementation of a Dual Factor routine. I generally go for moderate volume when loading, but keeping volume constant, while increasing the weight each week. I then go for low volume for the deload, and stick to the low volume while increasing the weight for the intensity phase.
An example might be to do this while loading for 4 weeks (any sets listed are work sets only - sufficient warm-ups should be done before this):
Mon-Squats 5x5, Rows 5x5
Wed-Bench 5x5, OHP 5x5
Fri-Squats 5x5, Chins 5x5
As you can see, the volume is moderate (10 sets per workout, 3 times a week) and the work is based purely around core lifts NOT done to failure (this enables us to squat twice a week in the volume phase). After 4 weeks of this, starting off light, increasing the weight each session, you will be at the brink of overtraining. That's the time to deload. We drop down to a lighter volume, keeping the weights the same as the 5x5, but drop down to 3 reps, and drop down to two sessions a week:
Mon-Squats 3x3, Rows 3x3
Thu-Bench 3x3, OHP 1x3, Chins 1x3
You then continue to increase the weights each week, giving you the intensity loading. Once you hit a wall on the intensity phase, you could test your maxes and then go back to the volume phase (or perhaps spend a week doing lighter assistance work if you need an additional deload). The rebound effect from the near-overtraining of the volume phase will multiply the gains you will get from the intensity phase.
So for example, taking the Monday squat session, you might do this:
Week 1 - 140kgx5x5 (this should feel fairly easy)
Week 2 - 145kgx5x5
Week 3 - 150kgx5x5 (this will be where your previous 5x5 max was - usually the same as your 8RM)
Week 4 - 155kgx5x5 (this will push you just past your previous best)
Week 5 - 155kgx3x3 (keep the weight the same but reduce the overall load and frequency for a deload)
Week 6 - 160kgx3x3
Week 7 - 165kgx3x3
Week 8 - 170kgx3x3
You might then test your maxes, and then start again with the 5x5 with (say) 145-150kg in your first week.
Pick your weights conservatively. It is better to start too light and have to add 10kg the first couple of weeks to your lifts, or to add an extra week or two into the loading phase than to start too heavy and end up hitting failure on the second or third week with nowhere to go. But ensure that by the end of the volume phase you are practically begging for the deload. If you aren't screaming for a deload and aren't close to (or at) failure by the 5th rep of the 5th set on the 4th week, add an extra week to the volume phase. Feel free to adjust the loading too. Some people like to start off quite heavy and load with smaller increments, whereas other people prefer to start lighter and load with heavier increments.
This is dual factor training (incorporating loading, deloading and periodisation). It will give you extremely good strength gains, and if you're eating enough, the mass gains will be huge too. However, it is intended for intermediate-advanced trainees who already have a good strength base. MOST more junior lifters (I class these as people who cannot yet deadlift twice their bodyweight) would be better off on a low volume single factor program which will allow them to increase the weight each week. Extremely advanced trainees should be doing a conjugated periodisation program (such as WSB), as the heavy weights they will be lifting are likely NOT to allow them to do that much volume without killing themselves on week 1 of the volume phase.
This may sound gay, something your mother would do before a jog around the park but I find warming up before my routine to be effective in combating injury.
Stretching out your calf muscles/legs and lower back help the flexibility in them.
Stretching out your arms before and during each set of weight training also helps in flexibility.
After stretching out try maybe 10-15 minutes on a treadmill/cross trainer with a slight easy job can warm you up and ready for the weight training.
Most people are frustrated with their lack of progress sometimes.
Here's a brief outline of my options/recommendations for how best to succeed.
The best training method is dual-factor training. However, this is complicated, and in general for people with less than 2-3 years lifting experience who can't yet deadlift over twice their bodyweight, this is overkill. HUGE gains can be made on a simple single-factor low volume routine with progressive resistance for a long period of time for most people, without the need for dual-factor. Since the vast majority of people are in a chronically overtrained state, a brief deload period is required, followed by a two-day split intense training routine, such as this:
Flat Bench Press 2 x 8
Parallel Barbell Rows 2 x 8
Weighted Chins 2 x 8
Standing Military Press 2 x 8
Back Squats ATF 2 x 8
Stiff-Legged Deadlifts 2 x 8
Calf raise 2 x 10
Weighted ab crunch (hold dumbell on your chest) 2 x 10
These don't include warm-ups, of which you should do a few progressive sets that don't tire you out, but instead warm you up and get your CNS stimulated. Remember to stretch also. The exercise order and reps can be tweaked of course, but do NOT add in a bunch of isolation exercises. Isolation work is great for a 250lbs+ bodybuilder looking to bring up a weak body part, but for the average circa 200lbs lifter who wants to get huge, you don't need to "tone" your biceps with endless curls. You need serious exercises that pack on serious mass... that is compound work like deads and squats - so do NOT swap out squats for leg press or similar. And do NOT add extra volume, or do any "burn-out" sets to feel a pump. Feeling like you've worked a muscle is a false sense of progress. ALL that matters is that you're keeping form strict with full ROM and are adding weight to the bar each week.
Which brings me to the key to the success of this routine - progressive resistance. That is, continually adding small amounts of weight each week. To get bigger, you need to get stronger. Adding small weights each week add up. Adding 1-2kg/week to your squat won't seem to make much difference on a week-to-week basis, but over the course of a year, that's an extra 50-100kg (along with the extra mass to match). That's immense.
Start off with weights that are easy to hit the rep ranges, and load up from there. Be extremely conservative. Your first few weeks on this routine should be relatively easy. The slower you load, the longer you'll be able to load for.
Yes, you will plateau eventually. That is a given. It may be after 4 weeks, or it may be after 4 months+. As SOON as you plateau, you need to change things up. If something doesn't work from one session to the next, it will NOT suddenly start working in another week/month/year's time (with the exception of it just being a one-off bad workout). You can get past a plateau in many ways. Diet is the first thing that should be looked at (see below). Assuming this is good, a brief deload period, followed by a simple change to the program (such as changing the rep range and starting off light again before loading back up) is the next step. If this doesn't work, then an overhaul of the exercises is the next step. The main thing is: do NOT stick with something that isn't working today.
Quite simply, it's all about protein. To grow, you need protein, and lots of it. If you're not growing, assuming your training is effective (i.e. you're still gaining strength), then you're not eating enough protein. If you're 200lbs and want to get to 250lbs+, you need to eat like a 250lbs+ bodybuilder.
You get a lot of 160-180lbs fitness enthusiasts telling you that you don't need large amounts of protein to grow, but look at any seriously huge bodybuilder - the vast majority of them (if not all of them) are pounding down the protein.
Try it. Assuming you're around 200lbs and want to grow, shoot for 400g of protein a day and see what happens.
How do you eat that much protein? From as much whole food as possible, but let's face it, you're unlikely to be able to eat well over a kg of meat amongst other food without hitting the protein shakes. The main thing is to get the protein down you. If that means downing a protein shake with every meal to bump up your protein intake, then so be it.
What about fats and carbs? There are certain amounts of essential fats you need in your diet. These can be obtained from fish oils. As for essential carbs, there are none (arguably aside from post-workout.. see below). Eat carbs depending on your body type. A raging ectomorph will need more carbs than a carb-sensitive endomorph at the same protein level. Green veggies are useful for vitamins and minerals, but let's face it, when you're pounding down the protein, it can be hard to chow down on a ton of veggies too, so just hit a multi-vitamin if you prefer.
Water. Drink as much of it as you can. Keep a bottle of water with you whenever possible, and sip it all day long. Keeping hydrated at all times is vital.
Post-workout nutrition is imperative. You need protein and carbs as soon as possible after workout. The protein for muscle growth, and the carbs to replenish the glycogen depleted from your workout. An ideal ratio for a 200lbs bodybuilder is 60g of protein and 80g of fast-acting carbs (usually dextrose or maltodextrin). Adjust these quantities in the same ratios depending on your size.
Very few actually work and as a rule, if in doubt, save your money. With the absense of enough vitamins and minerals in your diet, a multi-vitamin tablet is useful. Creatine is also a useful supplement, particularly if there aren't enough red meats in your diet. Other than that, use whatever money you were about to spend on the latest "get big quick" supplement fad and buy a nice juicy steak instead.
I do not condone the use of steroids which is why I have decided against including them in full view in this guide.
There are people however that may want to use steroids so if you are one of those people and are not that knowledgeable on the use of steroids PM me and I can recommend you on the use of steroids so you don’t get given the wrong gear and get ripped off.
Leg curls/3 sets of 8 reps very light weight-warm up
mon: squat/ 6sets -work up to your 3 rep max the first week then the following week work up to your 5 rep max. alternate between the two every week.
leg press 3 sets of 6 reps
stiff legged deadlifts/work up to your 3 rep max the first week then the following week work up to your 5 rep max. alternate between the two every week.
weds:bench press/6 sets work up to your 3 rep max the first week then the following week work up to your 5 rep max. alternate between the two every week.
incline dumbell press/ 3 sets of 6 reps
dips/3 sets of 6 reps
fri:deadlift/6sets -work up to your 3 rep max the first week then the following week work up to your 5 rep max. alternate between the two every week.
rack lockouts/3 sets of 6 reps-bar must be just below knees
seated rows/ 3 sets of 6 reps
bent over rows/3 sets of 6 reps
Bent over dumbbell raises/3 sets of 6 reps-very strict-focus on your rear delts-imagine somebody has placed there finger in the centre of your back and your trying to crush it with your back.
Shoulder shrugs/ 3 sets of 6 reps
Sat: standing shoulder press/6sets -work up to your 3 rep max the first week then the following week work up to your 5 rep max. Alternate between the two every week.
Side lateral raises/3 sets of 6 reps
Close grip bench press/3 sets of 6 reps
Extensions/3 sets of 6 reps
Standing barbell curl/3 sets of 6 reps
Seated preacher curls/3 sets of 6 reps
*after every workout alternate between abdominals and calves.
Abs-hanging leg raises/crunches 6 sets of 10 reps
Calves- standing calf raises/seated calf raises 6 sets of 10 reps
*its a basic routine, give it a try for a few weeks, you can alter it to suit your self and goals. Make sure that your taking in enough protein and carbs or all the training in the world wont make you bigger and stronger, also keep your water levels up.
Cardiovascular workouts may to most people just involve running as far and as fast as possible through the woods behind their houses however from my own and others experiences gaining the most effectiveness from doing cardio doesn’t necessarily involve running the longest distance or running the fastest on the block.
During your weekly workout include a cardiovascular workout on a separate day whereby you’re using some of the training tips I’m going to suggest.
Most decent gyms include a Stairmaster as part of their equipment as they can shred calories off people far quicker and with less effort than say running on a treadmill can.
Treadmills play their part however running for 10mins at 6.5mph on a treadmill will for example burn 150calories whilst 10mins on a Stairmaster will burn 200 calories so the effectiveness of Stairmasters are clear.
Stairmasters are basically a constant revolving staircase where you stand on it with the staircase revolving.
Continually walk up the stairs of your home if you don’t have access to a Stairmaster and you’ll feel the effect without being out of breathe much.
If like me you like the outdoors try and find some steep hills to run up and down, this is great for MMA as using a broad range of cross country running is far more effective than running in a straight line on a treadmill or concrete…
Omens of Overtraining……………………MMA07
It’s easy to get overzealous where the gym is concerned. After all, when months of forward motion have made us look better than we ever have in our lives, why wouldn't we push ahead like gangbusters and press the envelope with the intensity or duration of our training. More is better, right? Wrong!
Overtraining is an insidious after-effect of eagerness. It can ruin or undo months of good work within weeks. But don't worry, while overtraining can look like it has devoured and digested your hard-earned muscle, you can get it back if you change the way you approach your workouts.
Muscle is incredibly resilient. Once muscle hypertrophy occurs and a muscle becomes a particular size, it has the capacity to return to that size based on muscle memory. Deep within each muscle cell is an imprint of what it has been in the past. When training, diet and rest resumes in a combination that promotes rather than discourages muscle growth, muscle can return to its past state. But what are the causes of overtraining and muscle atrophy?
LINEAR TRAINING CAUSES BURNOUT
We've all read the adage "continually make changes in your workouts to continue making progress". The body responds to non-linear type assertion rather than linear ones. Non-linear assertions in training simply mean that we are not on the course of a straight line in the way we build upon our training. So while when one week you would start with squats for 4 sets and 8 reps, leg press for 4 sets and 6 reps and leg extensions for 5 sets and 10 reps if you were to continue building on that, week by week, simply by pi8lling sets and reps upon each exercise, in the same format, not only would you eventually have no place to go, your body would quickly ascertain that you are on a linear path and would head you off at he pass up the road. This is why it is advisable to train a non-linear fashion, employing heavy and light days, changing the format of workouts, varying reps, rest times, the number of sets and the weight used.
INCORRECT OR TOO FREQUENT TRAINING
The point is, among the many things that can go wrong and can cause the condition of overtraining, typically it's too frequent training, incorrect form and plain old overdoing things.
Too frequent training is the most common cause of all, and it's usually as a result of trying to force a minimum of two workouts on each body part, whether they are rested or not.
ADDITIONAL CAUSES OF OVERTRAINING
Often, low intensity type stressors can cause us to burn out much faster physiologically, mentally or emotionally when they interact with anything already weak within our programs. They may not affect us in the short term, but over time they do. These common stressors can interact or interfere with our training habits to create a climate ripe for overtraining, injury or burnout.
SIGNS OF OVERTRAINING
We're all in a hurry to get wherever it is we're set to go and bodybuilding goals can be a pressing matter. But no matter how much we may want to rush the process of training and growing, we can only do so much on any given day. We cannot continue to up the stakes without some form of consequence and typically it is overtraining.
Here is a list of signs that you can use to determine if you are on the verge of overtraining:
Reduced mental concentration
Insomnia or sleep disorders
Decreased performance or capacity
Delayed recovery from training (it takes twice as long these days)
Intolerance to training (nothing works, no pumps etc)
Elevated morning resting pulse rate
Mild ongoing pain in legs/joints
Washed out feeling; drained/twitchy, fidgety
Increase in injuries
Chronic muscle soreness
Frequent minor infections
Loss of sexual function/desire
If may not be easy to do, but you need time off and some changes in your overall program in order to get yourself out on an over trained state. Take a minimum of four weeks of rest, doing only low levels of exercise. That means full body light circuit training three days per week.
You'll also want to correct your nutritional program and address any deficiencies. The best thing to do is to have a professional go over your diet and assess whether you're getting enough vitamins, minerals, calories and balance in your diet.
After four weeks, you can assess whether you are ready to return to a normal schedule. The best remedy for that is a gradual return to your former, sane schedule. That means doing some cross-training to keep your mind and body fresh and prevent burnout. Do some resistance training and cardio and engage in some fun physical activities outside the gym. This blend of cardio, training and sporting activities will convince your body it is not going to be deluged again soon enough.
It is very hard to motivate yourself especially after training for many weeks/months and seeing hardly any results.
The younger you are however the more likely you are to see results so to the young ones out there I’d advise to keep observing your role models, the guys in the gym lifting heavier weights, or those fighters you see in the training camps or on television kicking guys asses… They had to begin somewhere, and the younger you start the better advantage you.
Praise yourself even if you only progress with maybe 2.5kg or something, praise yourself as it is an achievement.
Maybe you can kick one inch higher than the week before, hey so what? If you’re kicking one inch higher every 2 months that’s maybe 10inches at the end of the year… well I did say maybe
Keep reminding yourself of where you started. When I’m training and I’m lifting the same amount of weight for a few months with no progression, I remind myself I once was squatting 80kg , now I’m squatting 180kg (more than double my body weight).
When you are about to do something you deem is very difficult, imagine yourself completing this task. Say your about to bench press a heavier weight than you normally do, visualise yourself completing the task…
Simply by typing a few goals in notepad and saving them to your pc will help you succeed… regularly viewing these goals in a file saved to your desktop will increase the chances of you staying focused and determined.
Well you are reading this now, this is just one guide of many millions available online. Educate yourself on MMA, strength training, whatever really… knowledge is power!
I find music motivates me heavily, lets me become aggressed and ready to release testosterone that’s needed to lift weights and throw kicks punches continuously.
There are millions of songs that go along with exercising however these are just a few of many I’d recommend for weight training:
Dillinja - grimey
Ray Keith - Renegade Terrorist
Shy FX - Original Nuttah
adam F - Metropolis
Alex Reece - pulp fiction
diesel Boy - 6 million ways to die
krust - Warhead
M beat - incredible
Prodigy - no good
Onyx - Slam
Dmx - Party Up
Eric B & Rakim - Know The Ledge
Dead Prez - HipHop
A Tribe Called Quest - scenario
Roots Manuva - witness the fitness
Cypress Hill - i aint goin out like that
Metallica - enter sandman
MUSCLE CHART (MMA09)
Here is a great image that displays a chart of muscle groups in the human body.
This is very much needed especially if you go into isolation workouts.
OTHER GUIDES (MMA10)
Strength Training for The Busy MMA fighter:
Bodybuilding.com - Mike Mahler - Strength Training For The Busy MMA Fighter!
Bodybuilding.com - Jamie Hale - MMA Success - Part Seven!
AST Sports Science 12 Week Max-OT Online Training Course:
RapidShare Webhosting + Webspace
The Ultimate fitness Bible (over 50,000 words):
RapidShare Webhosting + Webspace
Chris Jenkins (Great Britain powerlifter)
Andy Bolton (Great Britain Powerlifter)
Body Fitness (dec 2005)
Nice post,a little hard to read but generally I agree with MOST of the stuff you're saying here. It's good to see someone else who realises the importance of compound lifts. Did you check out my thread on Strength Training? Here's a link:
A lot of your stuff seems a little more 'bodybuilding' related, not strength training oriented. You have to realise that bodybuilding does not transition very well into sports, especially when you're doing isolation exercises and working on your "size" and "vascularity," and not your overall functional strength.
I would say 350gif you are 200 pounds looking to bulk up would not only not be unhealthy, but totally necessary.
I'm gonna stick to what has worked for me, drink lots of milk and do lots of squats = mass gain.
However, I am eating a large amount of carbs aswell. I aint one of those eattheburger and throw away the bun fools.
Yea i agree the topic has alot of issues relating to actual bodybuilding but i just found the amount of topics on this forum where alot of the people who post (particularly the younger posters) are very self-conscious about how their bodies are appearing to others and continually posting topics asking how to define their muscles more which is why i tried having the bodybuilding stance of things included in the post.
i'm open to all suggestions so if you feel something in the post isn't correct PM me with a written alternative and we can sort out including it in the main topic:)
On the issue of protein i have stated in the topic i can only speak about my own experiences and how i have progressed and how other people have progressed and become professionals in bodybuilding/strength training/mma... and what they have said, and what i say.
If you feel protein is overrated then fair enough :)
Very true, I myself was a victim when younger of the marketing brigade that is apart of sports nutrition buying the latest product at very high prices... I was planning on making a indepth nutrition guide with recipes, diets, supplement recommendations ecetera which has yet to be completed.
If you're just jogging and lifting casually to keep in shape, just eat right and look for protein high foods and you'll be fine.
If you do the following:
Then yes, extra protein is needed.
I shoot for like 170-190g depending on workout day or not
Anything less and my body goes cold
I try to get what I can from REAL foods though.
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