Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Way outside my Box

What a difference a week makes. First I'm hanging out at a Crossfit gym, now I'm doing hypertrophy training? Woof.

As I've written before, I'm in the midst of a program that is already out of my comfort zone. I'm very comfortable and happy lifting heavy things with adequate rest periods, and now I'm doing metabolic circuits where I can hardly breathe and certainly can't see straight. Cool.

Thankfully, this Density Training (read: improving work capacity) phase is only 2 weeks. Next Monday I will be starting the Hypertrophy phase. For those who don't know, hypertrophy training is training in which your goal is to increase the size of your muscles. This is, generally, the way that a bodybuilder would train as opposed to the way that an athlete or powerlifter would train. There are lots of isolation exercises and oodles of volume (yeah, I said oodles).

I haven't done a hypertrophy phase since before I knew what I was doing in the weight room. Bodybuilder splits are how 99% of people start training, and many people don't outgrow it. It's a great system to use if you have the 1) time 2) genetics 3) right program 4) steroids, but most people don't have those things. They just come in and do bi's and tri's one day and then chest and back the next, and never see any results.

Well, for the first time ever, I strayed from a program. I always stick to the script to get the "best results", but it didn't happen this time. I've cheated and done two hypertrophy workouts with one of my co-workers, and frigging loved them. It was fun. It was different. It was cheesy. I got stapled to the bench by 135 pounds, for crying out loud. Last night we did a chest workout, and today we did lat's and bi's. Thats right. I did a lat's and bi's workout. And they were crushers, to be perfectly honest.

I did my normal density workout yesterday late morning, and my buddy Dan asked me to stay after work and do some hypertrophy. I figured, what the hell, packed some shorts and extra BCAA's and did it with him. I then let him convince me to come back in today and do the other workout. Coincidentally, Tony Gentilcore was in the facility today working out at the same time as us. I felt a little silly doing a hypertrophy workout in front of The Man, but as we talked, he mentioned how fun he thought the Superhero Workout hypertrophy month was. Cool...validation! He made a great point that when you lift heavy all the time, your joints get a little beat up. Doing hypertrophy for a month is a great way to give your body a "rest", while still making some gains.

I felt a little less silly after hearing that, but it is still very awkward for me to be doing a bodybuilding type split. Isolation exercises are so foreign to me...I don't even know what poundages to use! I can definitely see some benefit to this, though. I've said for a while now that I wanted to "bring up" my chest, I've always felt it lagged behind the rest of my body. No matter how heavy I worked up my bench, I never saw any real size gains. Well, doing a month of hypertrophy should certainly help that!

I expect my strength levels to go down a little bit, but thats acceptable. I'll be dying for some heavy lifting when all is said and done; but I can understand how I would want to intersperse my heavy work with a month of bodybuilder stuff every now and then.

Look at me, keeping my mind open to new things!

Now, go lift something heavy! Or...lift something really light, and really focus on contracting the right muscle!

Steve Reeves

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