Ballz 2 Da Wall Intensity
By: Bryan Locke
There seems to be a lot of stuff being kicked up recently about the way I train. People are entitled to their own opinions, but to be quite honest, I’m getting sick and tired of these people trashing the way I train, so I think I’ll kick the bucket of stuff for awhile.
People who swear by this HIT (High Intensity Training) method, not mentioning any names, Big Red, are usually the ones who struggle at building mass. Let’s face it, the guy may know his stuff, but he ain’t that big for somebody who has been training for over five years. I personally don’t understand how you can bring a muscle group to complete failure, and place the necessary stress on it to reach your maximum growth or strength potential by performing one to three sets per body part per week.
No doubt there is a few professional bodybuilders that actually do use and grow using a HIT training program, but then you have to take into account all the drugs they inject, plus the fact that they have an unbelievable muscle-mind connection ability from years of training. However, for the average teen bodybuilder, this is more than likely not the case, and in my opinion HIT should not be used.
High Intensity Volume Training
Now, having said that, don’t get me wrong and think that I do not believe in high intensity training. Actually, quite the opposite. It’s the foundation of my training. I use a training method I like to call H.I.V.T. or (High Intensity Volume Training). What? Volume you say? You’re Fu*kin ‘ Right! I firmly believe in an all out balls to the wall training session, or nothing at all.
I go through more training partners than you would believe… actually, six well built fellas couldn’t handle the pain and extreme workouts and quit on me in only 5 months. Yup, 6 quitters in 5 months. The only one who came close to being a decent training partner, and had enough balls to push himself in the gym was one of my good buddies Dave Way, who gained an unbelievable 8 lbs in just 2 short months using my training methods.
He also has a completely different body composition than me, (being 6’4″ tall and an ectomorph. Also known as your common ‘hard gainer’) which proves once again that this training method works and works well. Like the sound of that? Then keep reading!
Let’s say that you are a true bodybuilder, and not just pretending to be one. If this is the case, then you already have a well designed nutrition and supplement program in place. If not, then you should stop reading this article now and start learning about proper nutrition for bodybuilders first, since nutrition is the make or break component to building a top notch physique.
If you already have a sound nutritional and supplementation program in place, then you are in luck and I suggest using my type of training. I can guarantee that training this way, using these training principles and techniques will boast the biggest and best gains of your young careers.
I Love The Pain
My training mind set centers around pain. I love the discomfort and the pain which I induce upon myself every time I go to the gym. Gotta love it when your muscles are so pumped full of blood that they feel as though they’re going to explode. If you can’t handle pain, then you definitely don’t wanna train with me. No Pain, No Gain. It might be a lame saying but I can guarantee it holds true in this lifestyle.
Without a decent mind-muscle connection, you aren’t doin’ stuff. Now, on the other hand, you get somebody like Big Red who performs one to three low rep sets per body part. Where’s the pump and subsequent pain coming from? In my opinion HIT is just a technique used by the ones with no heart.
My workout starts as soon as I wake up. By this I mean that throughout the day, I periodically visualize how the workout is going to go, and how I’m going to lift more weight, do more reps and obliterate the muscle to a greater extent than during my last workout. This visualization should become more and more intense as your workout nears.
Visualizing your workout beforehand will dramatically increase your mind-muscle connection and produce an unbelievable workout. I’ll give you an example of focus and visualization before a workout.
I don’t even like to talk if I’m on my way to the gym, let alone during a workout since this will distract me and hinder me from getting into my psychotic-like mind set. I like to use music to get into this pre-workout mind set. I find rap does the job for me; DMX, D12, any hardcore stuff.
Once I get into the gym armed only with a pair of gloves, an iron will and a raging mind set, look out! Up goes the beats and there is nothing standing in my way from completing the task at hand. I can’t stress the importance of the mind in this sport enough. Where the mind goes, the body will follow.
It’s a big-time game of Mind Over Matter! Sure it might hurt like hell to gather up every last ounce of energy in your reserve to power out another rep, but that’s one rep closer to improving your physique and reaching your maximum growth potential by tearing your muscles apart that much more, and bringing them that much closer to absolute failure. In other words, bodybuilding is a mental game, yielding physical results.
45-60 Minutes Max, Do-Or-Die
Since my objective is to completely fatigue the target muscle and then move on, my workouts don’t usually last any longer than 45 minutes to an hour, contrary to popular belief. I like to start off with a two minute warm-up exercise. Shoulder rotations if I’m about to work chest for example, or trunk twists if I’m about to blast back. Still, all this time building up mental intensity. Once I’m loosened up a bit, I’ll start off with a warm-up set of my first exercise.
Usually my warm-up set consists of 12 – 20 reps using a light weight. After a short rest (usually 60-90 seconds between sets, timed using a stop-watch), its on to the next exercise, pyramiding the weight, while reducing the number of reps. I will continue pyramiding weight and reducing my reps for three to four working sets (depending on the muscle group being worked, and the exercise being used), reaching a higher degree of failure on each set. This may sound impossible, but If you have the will, there’s a way!
Using do-or-die poundages in the gym will keep you extremely focused on the task at hand, and produce more success that you ever though possible. Don’t just try and slap on an additional 50 lbs to the bench press bar to feed your ego, get your form right, then let the weight almost automatically add itself.
Leave Your Ego At The Door
Since we’re on the topic of ego, I should probably add this in here. If you’re reading this and thinking I may have a big ego, I have three words for you… shallow-minded and clueless! Ask yourself this. Why do you continue to lift weights? I guess everybody has a different answer, but for me, every time I look in the mirror, I snap. I’m not big enough, not symmetrical enough and have weak body parts. By no means perfect yet… YET being the key word! This is one of the many things that keeps me motivated.
Now, I’ll give you an example of how I would pyramid my weight, and reduce my reps on, let’s say dead-lifts. I love doing these and making the bar bend from all the weight. They give you a true feeling of power.
Set 1: 15 reps @ 95 lbs
Set 2: 12 reps @ 145 lbs
Set 3: 10 reps @ 250 lbs
Set 4: 8 reps @ 300 lbs
Set 5: 6 reps @ 365 lbs
Note: As you probably guessed, set number one is a warm-up. Sets three and four are brought to failure using picture perfect form. Set 5 is where the power of the mind comes into play. This is where the bulk of my muscle teardown comes from, and I can guarantee you that it doesn’t get any more Intense than this.
After this set, I wouldn’t be able to complete another deadlift if my life depended on it, even if I used a drop set, dropping 100 lbs! Don’t get too focused on these weights, because they’ll soon be a memory. Every week or two, these weights change, since the progression training principle is always exploited to its max with me.
Pyramiding the Weight
By pyramiding the weight, you are gradually warming up for the next set, and at the same time strengthening your mind-muscle connection for the grueling task ahead. It will also improve your balance and help you get into the groove for a movement so you can pound out your final heavy sets. By the time my final set rolls around, I’m using my maximum weight for six to eight reps with next to flawless form, and this is performed to absolute muscular failure.
Power the reps up, but focus on, and exaggerate the negative portion of the movement. I heavily rely on explosive concentric movements.Back to the ego thing again, I should probably also add in that it can be your worst enemy. The weights I use, especially for my for isolation lifts, aren’t near my maximum poundages, and neither should yours. This would be next to impossible to do if you plan on keeping your form tight.
Methods Of Failure
Failure is defined as being unable to complete another rep with strict and proper form. However, the key to success is taking your sets past the point of failure while avoiding injury. This is where Intensity Techniques a.k.a. Weider Principles come into play.
The only Intensity technique that should cause you to diminish the quality of your form is the cheating principle, where momentum comes into play to enables you to push past the sticking point of a movement such as barbell curls. Cheating should never be used at the beginning or middle of a set, only for the final few reps.
Now, I’m not going to go in depth with all these principles in this article, but here is a list of the ones that I use to add fuel to the fire: Supersets, Staggered Sets, Pre-exhaustion, Drop sets, Cheating, Continuous Tension, Forced Reps are amazing, Negatives, Peak Contraction, Confusion and Iso-tension. There are also others that I use out of the blue just to add more confusion to my body.
I use Continuous tension and peak contraction for every rep of every set. Other than that, I select one, maybe two additional intensity techniques every training day to shock the muscle even more. But this will lead to overtraining you say? Slight chance!
If you have a deadly nutritional and supplementation program in place (like I’ve already mentioned about 20 times) the chances of overtraining are greatly diminished, if not totally annihilated. Remember, they grow while recovering, not while you’re in the gym, so recovery is the most important aspect.
You think my training is brutal, you should see what I do during recovery. My gains over the next few months will illustrate this.
Jay Cutler Confusion is also another technique I use every time I go to the gym. By throwing something new at my body each time I go to the gym, I avoid reaching Plateaus.
This can be accomplished by altering set/rep schemes, weight, exercise selection and exercise order; basically I frequently change my routine to avoid having my body adapt or having my gains plateau.
This is also known as instinctive training, heavily used by pro Jay Cutler.
If you hit a plateau, you won’t make gains unless you re-evaluate and change your training approach.
As a final note, let me address two common practices I see as being counterproductive and capable of ruining your mass building potential. First of all, light training days are worthless. All they do is take away from your ability to recover from previous heavy workouts. In my mind, they aren’t worth stuff. Second, aerobics rob you of rest and mass building calories. It’s next to impossible to get maximum mass building and maximum fat loss effects at the same time, so make your choice.
Remember, your goal is building a great physique, not throwing around weights to feed your ego. In the end, you and only you control your bodybuilding destiny. Peace!