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Old 12-30-07, 12:22 AM
The two stages of training
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To me, there are two different stages of bodybuilding. The first stage is where you are trying to build the foundation of your physique. For most people this is at least the first 5 years. During this phase you should be gaining lots of muscle mass and seeing big gains in strength. People should be telling you "Damn, you're getting big" on a regular basis. This is where you go from being 150-170 lbs "regular guy" to 220-250 "Big guy". How do you do this? From a training standpoint, you need to be doing compound movements. Bench press, squats, deadlifts, military press, weighted pull-ups, barbell rows, etc. You should be training 3 days a week max, and constantly trying to put more weight on the bar. NO isolation movements. Not only are things like curls, lateral raises and leg extensions not needed in this phase, I actually think they SLOW your progress in the beginning. Your body can only recover from so much, concentrate on the basics in the beginning. I see SO MANY guys in the gym doing stuff like tricep extensions and lateral raises and they're under 180. They're in the gym everyday doing PUSSY exercises and with the exception of bench presses, they never do any heavy compound movements. They make little if any progress and never make it to stage two.

Stage two: Now you've put on some muscle. Let's say you're 240 or whatever. The basics have gotten you this far, why change things now? Because chances are you have to. When you were making those big gains in size, you were also making big gains in strength right? You started off benching 135, by year two you were benching 225, year three 315, year four 405. Now you're at year 6 and you're only benching 455. What happened? Well, like most people you don't have the genetics to bench 500 lbs. Did you think you were going to keep adding 100 lbs to your bench forever? After 10 years you'd be benching 1000 lbs? Not only have strength and size gains slowed or stopped, your wrists hurt when you bench. Your right knee hurts when you get up to 315 on squats. Your left shoulder kills you when you do military presses. NOW it's time to get creative. You still want to keep some basic, core movements in your routine and you want to go heavy as you can on those; but at this point you're looking to work muscles in different ways to keep them growing without irritating existing injuries. I used to press 125 dumbells over my head for reps, my shoulder won't let me do that anymore so I do things like cable raises to the front with a rope attachment. I still squat, but I can't go as heavy as I used to so I pre-exhaust my quads with leg extensions, stuff like that. I have a partially torn pec that keeps me from doing the heavy-ass weighted dips I used to do, so I do dips with my bodyweight and super-set them with tricep extensions that I do lying on the floor because they don't bother my elbow like they do sometimes if I'm standing up. Personally, I'd like to train with nothing but heavy, free weights all the time; but I've accepted the fact that I have to train a little differently now.

Of course, this all just based on me and what I've seen. I'm sure there are genetics freaks out there who have gotten huge doing cable curls, or guys who have been training balls-to-the-wall with heavy free weights for 20 years and have no injuries, but this is how I see things setting up for most.
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Old 12-30-07, 12:34 AM
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BTW, here's why I started this thread:

You know those cable raises to the front I mentioned? What I do is attach a rope to a low pulley. I straddle the cable, bend slightly at the waist and pull the weight up to eye level. It's actually a great ADVANCED exercise, and one I've never seen anyone else do. Well, everytime I do it I see people watching me like "What is he doing?" then last week I was doing back and see these three guys that are ALWAYS in the gym lifting. They're younger, maybe early 20's and not one of them is over 170. They were doing my exercise, struggling with like 40 lbs. I doubt any of these guys could military press 135 and that's what they need to be doing, military presses. I never see these guys doing any free weight compound lifts, and of course they never get bigger. They probably saw me doing the cable raises and think I got big shoulders from doing cable raises.
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Old 12-30-07, 12:55 AM
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Great post control. This is getting stuck up top!
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Mr I
Old 12-30-07, 01:32 AM
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another good post bro, good to be reminded of the basics generally.

Couple of things I don't quite agree with; nothing wrong with doing leg extensions from day one IMO, good to warm the knee ligaments and quads throu before starting the compound movement.

Nothing wrong with barbell curls either.

My last point is that doint some of the isolation movements can help the muscle strengthen i diferent ways. How many people get rotar cuff injuries, loads right? I can shoulder press 125's (each db) tommorrow although I don't usually go quite that heavy and I've been trainig for quite a few years and haven't damaged my rotar cuff. I think the reason is that I have always done so many lat raises to rear, side and some cable work so my stabalising muscles have protected me
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Old 12-30-07, 01:47 AM
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I think your spot on with the first paragraph.
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Old 12-30-07, 03:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr incredible View Post
another good post bro, good to be reminded of the basics generally.

Couple of things I don't quite agree with; nothing wrong with doing leg extensions from day one IMO, good to warm the knee ligaments and quads throu before starting the compound movement.


To me the way to warm-up the knees is on the bike. I get on the bike for 5-7 minutes, gradually increasing the resistance. Pedal in 30 second bursts, resting 10-20 seconds between bursts. Then stretch and start doing squats with very light weight. My first two sets are with 95 lbs, I don't care how ridiculous it looks.
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