Mass Weight Training: Building Muscle - A Tribute to Kong

Discussion in 'Health, Fitness, Training and Nutrition' started by j flex roo, Nov 7, 2009.

Put it out there
  1. j flex roo

    j flex roo Club Legend

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    There's a degree of debate happening on this forum, and as wise as the heads on here seem to be, there is varying opinion as to what kinds of exercises are optimal for building up the muscle (if that is indeed your goal).

    It worries me when I see a personal trainer in a gym with a new trainer recommending anything other than compound lifts.

    I realise that for a beginner, perhaps isolation, full body routines are a good starting point.

    But it really annoys me when a comparative weed (PT's included) comes up to me and tells me I'm doing the wrong lift, recommending instead to do some 'safer' less efficient bollocks, which would never in a million years build 1/100th of the muscle a heavy compound lift would.

    I've been lifting for the better part of 5 years now, and while not the 'fittest' looking of lifters, I reckon I'm stronger and more muscular than probably 80% of blokes I see lifting.

    I'd like to gather some opinion on the best exercises, techniques and opinion (arranged by body part) that work the best for you.

    I'll kick things off with the often abandoned body part: the legs.

    Legs:

    I love working legs, even if it can be sheer murder.

    Here's my optimal exercises I use, in order of preference:

    1. Barbell Squats;
    2. Deadlifts (yes, as well as being a back lift, I consider it a leg lift also...a brilliant backside and hammy builder);
    3. 45 degree leg press
    4. Lunges with Barbell
    5. Hack Squat Machine
    6. Calf Raises (of whichever variation).

    I do not tend to value isolation leg exercises such as hammy curls or quad raises as I feel they don't add much value, but can be a good supplementary exercise to warm up on before squatting or to finish with.

    As for rep ranges, on the legs I tend to think that there a definite benefits to be had in very low rep ranges, going very heavy. This of course can be dangerous if not done properly. However, if you know your stuff and are confident, you should be fine.

    However, high reps are also good if you are looking to shake it up. I've gone fairly heavy on leg presses and gone for 15-20 reps quite a few times, and have found walking difficult the whole week after, as well as getting some decend growth.

    For now, if possible, I'd like to stick with legs for this discussion...next one to yack about with be chest (every ones fave).

    What's your leg routine? What rep ranges are you using for optimal growth?
     

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  2. cptkirk

    cptkirk Premiership Player

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    for a leg day i follow this:

    max effort squat or deadlift (i would deadlift 3 x more then squat if not more, i refer to actually doing the exercise, not wt)
    a single leg exercise (lunge, step up)
    posterior chain exercise (rdl, ghr etc)
    never bother with calves so i'll pop some core in here (you can never have too much core stability)

    for deadlifts i have some lower back history, nothing serious but enough to program for so i do a deadlift/rack pull type of thing from a mid shin ht as i go into lumbar flexion at the bottom of a bilateral squat/deadlift pattern...for squats i go down to a bench that is set up an inch before i go into lumbar flkexion to stay out of that potentially fatal position...a rep range here is something like 9 - 15 total reps over at least 5 sets so maybe work up to a max set of 3 or 5 or 5 x 3 etc...no point going over 6 reps i don't think...both of these really are best to build total body strength so your accessory lifts are also heavy enough to make a difference..for example if you can squat only 50kgs then you'll lunge with something like 20kgs maybe but if you can deadlift 150kgs then you';ll easily be able to lunge with 50kgs...see what i mean? this is the case for upper body too

    i don't think there's much of a difference between going to parallel then going below nor deadlifting from the floor then from a mid shin ht, except in competition for depth is required

    single leg training is where it's at i beleive for legs...we're not all blessed with hip/ankle mobility so get the muscles hit in a deep squat or deadlift pattern, this is it...load up a bb and go into split squats, reverse lunges, dynamic lunges, walking lunges, pistol squats (maybe a db for these), and deficit variations too...i've had my heart rate up to 168 after a heavy set of reverse lunges before and they also use all your stabilising muscles (think injury prevention here) so more muscle use then a squat, but a lowewr load which is also good for deloading the spine a little...spinal loading taxes the nervous system and as soon as that is gone, your toast...about 5 - 8 reps each leg for these as heavy as you can...if you need to rest between legs then do so

    everyday life is all anterior based stuff for lower and upper body so this needs to be off set in the gym...this is why i cringe when i see programs of squats, leg extensions and leg presses because your simply reinforcing bad posture (yes, you have it) and overlaoding an already overloaded anterior chain...this is where more posterior chain work comes into it so think rdl's, single leg rdl's, back extensions (keeping out of lumbar hyyperextensions) and glute stuff such as hip thrusts, 3pt extensions and the like...reps for these should be in the 6 - 12 rep range depending on the exercise and the load your using (6ish for rdl's and 12ish for back ext)

    calves need at least 3 sessions a week eith a hellava lot of volume and wt so if you've got the time and your body is still going hard, do it...if you're gonna do them 1 or 2 a week then you may as well not even do them

    80% of the year i do plyometrics of some description (i am now) which is basically 2 exercises done straight after a warm up...i also haven't listed o lifts as i don't do them much but i've been meaning to so might do some before or after christmas...basically they are hard for most to get a hold of andf the explosive nature means sloppy technique usually which can increase the risk of injury...with paying clients who want results yesturday, teaching a single O lift for even a whole session isn't worth it for them or for me so low level plyomtrics and some medicine ball stuff is a better option...it's importnat to remember that quality over quantity rules here...as soon as jumping ht or the speed of the exercise reduces, stop the set
     
  3. had sex on fire

    had sex on fire Debutant

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    Superman walk 3 20
    Squats 3 6
    Calf raises 3 15
    Single leg deadlifts 3 15
    Lunges 3 20
    Hammy thrusts 3 15
    Wall sit 2 2min
    this is my leg day alot my exercises are for functional srtength sort of thing. love to finish off a leg session with a wall sit kills my quads and can't walk properly after them.
     
  4. j flex roo

    j flex roo Club Legend

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    1. What's a Superman Walk?

    2. How the hell do you do Single Leg Deadlifts?

    3. What are Wall Sits?
     
  5. whichone

    whichone Senior List

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    You basically just stand holding dumbells in each hand and bend forward (from the hips) as far as you can (balancing on one leg) and then come back up. Great for the hamstrings.
     
  6. cptkirk

    cptkirk Premiership Player

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  7. had sex on fire

    had sex on fire Debutant

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    that basically it except i do superman/spiderman walks trying to stay as close to the ground as possible and quicker then what he does in the vid

    i use DBs in both hands for single leg deadlifts pretty much my favourite exercise at the moment
     
  8. j flex roo

    j flex roo Club Legend

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    The spider man walk looks pretty much like walking lunges to me.

    I think that sort of thing has a definite utility.

    However, I fail to see how those types of exercises where you will be fairly limited in the weight you can use will be better than a squat with 150 kg on the bar. Or a 180 kg normal deadlift. I can't see how they will maximise the amount of muscle fibres stimulated and herenceforth maximising growth.

    I personally can't be bothered with that type of stuff...to be honest, it takes balance and coordination, which I think I have, but would just prefer to squat or deadlift heavily than risk going A over T. However, what works for you works for you. That is merely my take on it.

    This brings me to what I guess is the thrust of what I am trying to get at here - posters like Captain Kirk appear to take a fairly scientific approach, whereas people like myself take more 'conventional' stance.

    'Philosophy' on training is what drives trainers of a few years experience.

    So I guess, with regards to the topic of the moment, legs, I want to know the following.

    1. Exercises you use
    2. Rep ranges
    3. How do you perform each individual rep? For instance, slow concentric movement followed by an explosive eccentric movement? Or superslow all the way? Static holds? Negatives? Cptkirk has touch on a bit on these types of methods already...
    4. Philosophy that drives it all. I.e. maximum muscle stimulation through lower weight higher reps, or do you think you get best growth from higher weights and lower reps?

    I personally think I've seen best leg growth with the following:

    - Squats. High weight with 5-7 reps.
    - Leg press uber-heavy for 10-15 reps
    - Deadlift very heavy with 8-10 reps
    - Calf raises with high reps 15-20 very very heavy (for the sake of completeness).

    In a nutshell I think legs benefit most from a mix. I find that high rep sqats make my knees agro, so I like the lower rep stuff. It is an incredibly taxing exercise, and I find anyway that 5 or 6 perfectly executed reps with 70-80% of a 1RM gives me plenty.

    I'm interested to know, do the posters who do the single legged deads and walking lunges/spidermans see very good mass being put on the legs? Have these posters ever gone hard on the conventional squats and deads?
     
  9. j flex roo

    j flex roo Club Legend

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    To be honest mate, I have been abandoning my pins the last month.

    I find that if I have a leg session that night, all day I'm dreading it. It's psychologically taxing more than anything.

    Will be getting back into the squats this week. :eek:
     
  10. j flex roo

    j flex roo Club Legend

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    What rep ranges work best for the types of exercises you do for legs, Cptkirk?
     
  11. j flex roo

    j flex roo Club Legend

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    Nicely illustrated.

    Chest?

    My mantra is (and it seems to be working pretty well):

    1. Big compounder - namely flat bench usually (or incline - whatever you feel like targetting - use instinct), swithced with dumbbells every 8-10 weeks or so. Heavy as you can bear 8-10. Always throw in a weight that tests you for a few sets of 1-3 occassionally. 1RM tests are a good way to guage strength progress, and I tend to think that generally (cue the outrage) the stronger you are in chest exercises the bigger you are. Well d'uh.

    2. Second compounder - take your choice. I personally love incline smith benches. They isolate the muscle nicely. Yeah, yeah, what about the stabilisers!?!? I reckon the stabilisers get trained plenty in the first evercise. Remember, the chest is a relatively small muscle group, so the stabiliser activation isn't as huge an issue as training legs is. Go hard and heavy here. 8-10 heavy as you can.

    3. Full dips - will add a fair bit to the lower portion of the chest as well as bringing plenty of tricep - a key component in a good bench - into it.

    4. Pullovers with a dumbbell - do these heavy. I like them because they stretch everything out in a different way, and also stretch the lats and triceps muscles.

    Basically, I go for a mix of sheer weight progression at any cost (in the first two compount exercises of my routine) mixed with trying to really isolate the chest (through the smiths mainly).

    I might also add some type of flye in if I still feel like my chest is not punished enough. But this is fairly rare.

    Guess from the look of that routine I do like the compounds.

    Has worked pretty well so far. I'll be interested to see others take on how things should be done.

    Go nuts all.
     

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  12. Oberfuhrer Abetz

    Oberfuhrer Abetz Senior List

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    I might have to try the incline smith as there seems to be a few around here that swear by it.

    I've outgrown the DB rack so at the moment I am struggling to find a decent specific chest exercise.
     
  13. cptkirk

    cptkirk Premiership Player

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    smith machine is the worse machine going around, it fixes you to one line of movement which if it isn't your natural line of movement which is usually isn't, then you'll compensate somewhere in the shoulder girdle where you shouldn't

    i train chest 2/week (upper days) and will do a max effort type bb variation which rotates through flat bench, floor press, and board preses for the most part so something between 3 - 6 reps

    on 1 of the days i'll do a second chest exercise which will be a db variation or a hard push up variation for 8 - 12 rep-ish

    if you have access to them, try gymnastic ring or trx push ups, the best chest exercises out there for mine...they combine the simple pressing motion of a bench press movement with the arc range of motion of a fly or crossover at the same time

    another push up bit to do is feet up x as many as you can, feet on the floor x as many as you can then with hands elevated x as manya s you can x 2 - 3 rounds...add up all the reps then get more the next time
     
  14. mcuzzy

    mcuzzy Brownlow Medallist

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    Smith Machine is great! Good for concentrating on the body part I reckon.

    I do 5 pushups between every chest set these days.
     
  15. mcuzzy

    mcuzzy Brownlow Medallist

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    Thanks for the advice.

    I'll start the benching tomorrow.

    Also added db pullovers in.

    bench, db flys, incline bench, db pullovers and dips.

    whomb, you'll have to post up your routine sometime i'm hell curious.
     
  16. j flex roo

    j flex roo Club Legend

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    Thanks Whomb. That was a great rundown.

    I've tried the deep tissue stretching and things like rest-pause etc.

    I'm aware of some pretty intense stretching exercises that are supposed to help activate the extra fibres lifting weights otherwise cannot.

    What are the one's you prefer, Whomb?
     
  17. james_omahoney

    james_omahoney Club Legend

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    *snore*

    ;)
     
  18. mcuzzy

    mcuzzy Brownlow Medallist

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    Good workout Whomb, I had one recently very similar.

    Instead of cables I did DB flys and I didn't have pullovers.
    and instead of incline smith i did incline db press
     
  19. mcuzzy

    mcuzzy Brownlow Medallist

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    It's always good to switch things around! You sound very experienced.

    Dumbbell fly works better for me, don't know why, always has.
    Any more opinions on this?

    What's something that really brings out the mid/inside pecs? Currently trying to find what I'm lacking.
     
  20. mcuzzy

    mcuzzy Brownlow Medallist

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    Did bench press with a wide-ish grip today instead of dumbbell chest press.
    My god..Ican't cross my arms
     
  21. blockman155

    blockman155 Team Captain

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    I want to build up muscle on my upper body mainly across the chest, what are some good exercises for building up pecs and how frequently should i be doing them? FWIW I'm 17 around 184cm and 65kg's
     
  22. mcuzzy

    mcuzzy Brownlow Medallist

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    I love DOMS, lets me know I've worked out decently.

    Why havn't you worked the legs recently?
     
  23. j flex roo

    j flex roo Club Legend

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    Had a chest session tonight.

    Overall I was annoyed at it all.

    I started off with flat benches and had an appaling time. I pressed out two less reps in my working sets than I did last time at the weight I used last time. During inclines, my chest totally gave out after only the third rep of my second set (on which I usually can press up 8-10 quite easily).

    I think the body is trying to tell me to mix it up.

    Next session I'll lighten up the bar and shoot for some higher reps concentrating on form. Before I do this, however, I reckon I'll try some pre-exhaution in the form of some flyes. Might even finish off with some giant sets...nasty pec bloaters.

    Hard and heavy at all costs is wearing me down at the moment.
     
  24. had sex on fire

    had sex on fire Debutant

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    Last night did some incline bench 3 x max which was 14,11,8 and did three negatives at the end of each set. Then went into flyies doing 3 x 8. Was with 2 mates so thought we'd mix it up so we each cycled through on the chin up bar maxing out untill one of us couldn't do one did this for dips and push ups to. Am feeling it today
     
  25. Oberfuhrer Abetz

    Oberfuhrer Abetz Senior List

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    Re: Optimal Exercises and Optimal Techniques for Muscle Gains

    teh biceptz J,

    You know you want it