Different Types of Muscle Soreness Caused By Weight Training (And How To Minimize It)

SorenessTypesCauses

Soreness is a normal part of the recovery process that starts once you finish your bodybuilding workouts.

There are several degrees of soreness that we need to be aware of:

1. Typical Mild Muscle Soreness:

The first type of soreness is the typical mild muscle soreness experienced the day after a good workout. While scientists are still unable to pinpoint the true cause of such soreness, it is generally accepted that it is caused by micro trauma caused at muscle fiber level and by an excess of lactic acid. At either rate, what’s important is the fact that this is good soreness as it is of a mild nature and muscle function is not impaired. It generally lasts a day for advanced athletes and up to 3 days for a beginner. This soreness is a good indicator that you had a good workout the day before as you created the trauma necessary to trigger adaptation (e.g. muscle growth). When you are no longer experiencing this type of soreness then that is an indication that your body has successfully adapted to the training program; something that leads to no gains unless the routine is changed once again.

2. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness:

The second type of soreness is delayed onset muscle soreness, better known as DOMS. The term DOMS refers to the deep muscular soreness usually experienced two days after the workout has been done (not the day after). This soreness prevents the full muscular contraction of the muscle. This type of more severe soreness is caused when you either embark an exercise program for the first time or when you train a body part much harder than usual. This pain can last between a couple of days for an advanced well-conditioned athlete or as much as a week for a beginner. If you are being affected by this type of soreness and it is time to workout again, I find that the best idea is not to take the day off, but instead to exercise the body part doing an Active Recovery routine. The Active Recovery Routine that I am referring to here is a routine where all of the loads are reduced by 50% and the sets are not taken to muscular failure. For example, if you are to perform an exercise for ten repetitions, divide the weight that you usually use for that exercise by two and that is the weight that you will use for that day. Also, stop executing the exercise even though you will not have reached muscular failure once you get to repetition number ten. The idea of this type of workout is to restore full movement in the muscle and to remove the lactic acid and other waste from it. Also, to force high concentrations of blood into the damaged area in order to bring the nutrients needed by the muscle for repair and growth. I have always found that doing this is always more beneficial as by the next day you will not be as sore or stiff anymore as opposed to skipping the workout in the name of recovery and waiting for the pain to subside in a week or so.

3. Injury-Type Muscle Soreness:

The third type of soreness is the one caused by injury. This soreness is entirely different in nature from the ones described above as it is usually immobilizing in nature and very sharp. Depending upon the nature of the injury, it may be experienced only when the muscle is moved in a certain way or constantly. Sometimes these injuries become apparent as soon as they happen. Other times the day after. If you become injured, the first thing that you should do is apply the RICE principle (Recovery, Ice, Compression and Elevation). After consulting a doctor, some injuries may allow you to continue training while working around the injury (in other words, finding the exercises that target the injured muscle without involving the range of motion that triggers the pain). Other more serious injuries, like a muscle tear, may involve complete rest of the injured area, and depending on the severity, it may require even surgery. Therefore, when you weight train, please leave the ego somewhere else. Do not bring it into the weight room as it may cause you to get injured and injuries not only can take you out of the gym for a while, but they always seem to haunt you long after you think that you have fully recovered. So needless to say, the best way to prevent this type of soreness is by cycling your exercise parameters and by constantly practicing good form.

There are a few techniques that one can use to manage muscle soreness from the first two types:

1. Ensure proper nutrition:

While this should be obvious, a lot of people miss the boat on this one. If you do not take the proper amount of carbohydrates (1-2 grams per pound of body weight depending on how fast your metabolism is), 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight and 20% of your total calories from good fats, your body will not have all of the nutrients that it needs in order to recover and grow (regardless of what supplements you are taking).

2. Drink your water:

While this does not look fancy, muscle is over 66% water. Therefore it is of utmost importance that you drink your water. You need your body weight x 0.66 in ounces of water on a daily basis in order to function properly. So if you weigh 200-lbs then you need 132 ounces of water per day. Less water than that and you impair your ability to flush out toxins and thus your recovery will be adversely affected.

3. Periodize your training and keep training sessions to 60 minutes maximum:

If you train heavy all of the time, this will invariably lead to overtraining and even injury. The same is true if your volume is too high. Therefore, it is important that you periodize your workouts by manipulating the volume and how heavy you train. Alternate periods of higher volume and lower weights (10-15 reps) with periods of lower volume and heavier weights (6-8 reps). In addition, in order to maintain anabolic hormone levels high, refrain from training for longer than 60 minutes (45 minute sessions being even better). After 60 minutes testosterone levels go down while cortisol levels rise. As a result, training past the 60 minute mark leads to increased cortisol levels and thus impaired recovery. (Read more about Periodization or download my periodized 21-Day Routine below)

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4. Do some cardio:

Believe it or not, three to four 30 minute sessions of cardiovascular exercise a week will actually help you speed up recovery since the extra oxygen and circulation helps to flush out toxins and lactic acid out of the system. So do not neglect your cardio.

5. Alternating hot/cold showers:

Alternating cold and hot showers (30 seconds of cold water followed by 1 minute of hot water) is a great method to help flush out toxins and lactic acid. The cold water creates vasoconstriction while the hot water creates vasodillation. You can use this simple method after a hard workout. Typically, I like to do 3-5 rounds of cold and hot.

6. Massage:

Massage can help with lymph movement (a fluid that helps to remove waste from body tissues), which combined with blood helps to supply oxygen and nutrients while helping to rid the body from wastes and toxins. While ideally, the higher the frequency of training, the more often one should get a massage, a massage performed once a month will do wonders for your overall recovery.

7. Enzyme supplementation:

store_sorenzyme_bigThere is an incredible amount of research that shows certain enzymes are not only good for digestion, but they are also good for anti-inflammation and recovery. I did not really believe this until I started using an enzymatic formula that has helped to reduce the soreness and inflammation that happens after the workouts with great results. The formula’s name is Sorenzymes, and it is composed of many enzymes that have healing properties and that reduce inflammation. At first, I really did not understand how enzymes can help to recover faster but Lee Labrada set me straight on this. Lee told me that this formula is composed of enzymes that work on a systemic level and address the issue of DOMS. He said: “One of the things that we have been finding from our research is that judicious use of enzymes can actually reduce the inflammation associated with DOMS, which increases recovery and therefore increase muscle growth – it can almost double it. It’s tremendous”. I must say that after I tried the formula, I was not disappointed and thus became a believer in enzyme supplementation. Just 4 capsules taken on an empty stomach after training do the trick for me.

8. L-Glutamine supplementation:

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle cells. It is released from the muscle during times of stress (such as hard weight training workouts) and dieting. This amino acid not only has been shown to be a great anti-catabolic agent (protects the muscle from the catabolic activities of the hormone cortisol), to be a contributor to muscle cell volume, and to have immune system enhancing properties. For more information on glutamine please take a look at my article on Glutamine Basics.

9. Take Your EFA’s:

EFA supplementation has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties (amongst many other good properties). Take at least 14 grams per every 100-lbs of bodyweight. Good sources of EFAs are Fish Oils, Flax Seed Oil, and EFA Lean Gold.

10. Take your creatine:

Creatine has been shown over and over again to help improve not only in between set recovery but also recovery after a workout as well. Half a teaspoon (2.5 grams) before and after your workout will upgrade your recovery capabilities. For more information on creatine please take a look at my article on Creatine Basics.

11. Get enough sleep:

If you don’t get enough sleep your cortisol levels will go through the roof, recovery will be impaired, and your probability of getting injured and/or sick will increase. It is of utmost importance that one gets as much sleep as possible with 8 hours being optimal. For more information on the importance of sleep please take a look at my article on The Maladies Caused by Sleep Deprivation.

Now you have a few tricks up your sleeve in order to deal with soreness, start implementing these immediately so that you can go to the gym and train super hard!

Take care and train hard!

hugo_sign

 

 

 

About the Author

hugoHugo Rivera is an International best selling fitness author certified in personal training and nutrition with a computer engineering degree from the University of South Florida. Hugo is owner of www.hugorivera.net, an informational, free fitness and nutrition website. He is author of over 10 fitness books (with over a million copies sold) including his best sellers: Body Re-Engineering, The Body Sculpting Bible for Men, The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, the Weight Training Diary, and the Hardgainers Handbook of Bodybuilding. Today via his website HugoRivera.net, numerous articles, book publications, TV and radio appearances Hugo continues to educate the public on how to achieve the body of their dreams via the use of weight training exercise, good nutrition and correct supplementation. You can follow Hugo via:

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/hugoriverafitness
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hugorivera.net
Google Plus: www.google.com/+HugoriveraNetnaturalbodybuilding
Twitter: www.twitter.com/hrfit
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/hugoriverafitness
BodySpace: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/hrfit/

How Guys Can Make A Successful Fitness Comeback!

comeback-male-2

There are many things that life can throw our way which may derail you from your fitness program: sickness, an injury, a life changing situation, a post contest rebound that de-motivated you, and many others. The good news is that no matter what circumstance got you away from your fitness program, you can always use your strong will to come back to it.

With that said, there are 3 mistakes that you need to avoid to make a successful comeback:

1) Don’t punish yourself for your current condition:

It is easy to feel bad and beat yourself over and over again for regressing and going back to a “Before Picture” condition. Yet, this is not productive. The best thing to do at this point is ACCEPT the fact that you are in whatever shape you are in and KNOW that with the plan you will implement the “After Picture” condition will be just around the corner.

 

2) Don’t embark into an overly ambitious program:

The worst thing you can do at this point is try to get back to the same program that you were doing before and use the same amount of weight that you used to lift. This is a rapid way to get excessively sore, and possibly injured as the joints need time to ease back into training. At the same time, you are opening yourself up to getting extremely frustrated as chances are that you cannot lift the same amount of weight that you used to do before. Remember, that at this point, the key is to not overwhelm your body with a complicated program that will send your cortisol hormone levels through the roof. Your comeback program should be one that focuses on getting you back into the swing of things, retraining your nervous system on how to activate its muscle fibers with each movement and getting your joints back into fighting condition.

3) Don’t embark into a fad diet:

Many girls who (and guys do this too) who get back after a layoff embark into a fad diet to speed-up the process. This is a sure way to fail as fad diets, like zero carb diets, cripple your thyroid levels and increase your cortisol levels. The end result is a lowered metabolic rate which means that it will be much easier for you to gain fat at a lower caloric range! And once your thyroid production is compromised it will take time to bring it back up to optimal levels.

 

How To Make a Successful Comeback

Now that we know what the 3 biggest mistakes to making a successful comeback are, here are my training and diet suggestions to making a successful comeback (please download the FREE 21 Day Program below):

21-day-program

Download Your 21-Day Bodybuilding Program for FREE << Click to Download (You also get our FREE Top Supplements That Actually Work Guide)

Successful Comeback Diet Guidelines:

Thus, ease back into a program where you are consuming a diet composed of 40% of its calories from protein, 40% from mainly complex carbs and 20% from good fats. This can be easily achieved by taking your approximate fat free mass (lean body mass = total bodyweight in pounds – approximate fat weight in pounds) and multiplying that number by 1. That gives you the total amount of carbs (in grams) that you need to consume per day. That also gives you the total amount of daily protein (in grams that you need). To calculate your good fats, simply multiply your lean body mass by 0.33.

So assuming a lean body mass of 150 lbs you are looking at 150 grams of carbs, 150 g of protein and 50 grams of good fats per day. That will give you the grams of fat that you need to consume each day. If you follow these simple formulas you will follow the perfect 40/40/20 diet plan suited to your body.

SAMPLE DIET for MEN:

• Meal 1: 1 cup of oatmeal with 1 packet of Meal Replacement Powder
• Meal 2: 3 rice cakes / Faye greek yogurt (1 cup) / 1 cup strawberries.
• Meal 3: 6 ounces (180 grams) of chicken measured cooked, 1 cup of rice (brown or white), 1/3 cup avocado, any combination of vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, onions, peppers, lettuce and tomatoes.
• Meal 4 (post workout meal): 1 packet of Meal Replacement Powder / 1 scoop of Power Carb:
• Meal 5: Wild Atlantic Salmon (130 grams), 300 grams of potatoes, any veggies (as above)

Optional Meal Before Bed: 1 cup of Greek Yogurt around 30 min before bed with 1 tablespoon of almond butter.

SAMPLE DIET for WOMEN:

• Meal 1: 3/4 cup of oatmeal with 1 packet of Meal Replacement Powder
• Meal 2: 3 rice cakes / Faye Greek yogurt (1 cup) / 1 cup strawberries.
• Meal 3: 4 ounces (120 grams) of chicken measured cooked, 1/2 cup of rice (brown or white), 1/4 cup avocado, any combination of vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, onions, peppers, lettuce and tomatoes.
• Meal 4 (post workout meal): 1 packet of Meal Replacement Powder / 1 scoop of Power Carb
• Meal 5: Wild Atlantic Salmon (85 grams), 150 grams of potatoes, any veggies (as above)
• Optional Meal Before Bed: 1 cup of Greek Yogurt around 30 min before bed with 1/2 tablespoon of almond butter

 

Additional Comeback Supplements:

One of the biggest complaints people have when they get back into a fitness program is muscle soreness and even joint soreness. However, there are some great natural supplements that can greatly help with your recovery making the process much more efficient while reducing soreness significantly. (Note: It is not essential to take these supplements in order to achieve success from this program. The key to success is the training and the diet. However, if you can add any of these supplements you will see a marked improvement in your recovery capacity and soreness levels.)

Download Your Top Supplements Guide for FREE << Click to Download

 

Additional Tips For Making a Permanent Comeback:

Be sure to track your progress properly.

Do not rely solely on the scale as the scale does not tell you how much muscle you have gained and how much fat you have lost. And remember, muscle weighs more than fat so if you gain 2 pounds of muscle and lose 2 pounds of fat in the same week, the scale will not move. However, your measurements should show an incredible amount of difference! Note: For more information on this subject, check out Cecile’s article on“Why The Scale Can Be Your Biggest Enemy.” Also, be sure to check out Hugo Rivera’s article on “Tracking Your Progress.

Be sure to lose no more than 2 pounds of fat per week.

Any more fat loss than that can compromise your ability to gain muscle. If you see that you are losing too fast and losing strength at the gym, increase your carbs and protein by 15 grams per day and the good fats by 3 grams. Remember that the goal here is to make a successful and permanent comeback. In order to do that, slow and steady wins the race. You need to convince your body that it is OK to burn off the extra fat while gaining new muscle. To do that, you must prevent the body from entering into emergency mode as when that happens, cortisol levels rise and the body begins to try and retain body fat while burning muscle. Therefore, be sure to not overt-rain and to follow the diet as I advised above.

 

Conclusion

So there you have it: all my tips on how to make a successful comeback. Just remember that like Rocky said “It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” So let’s access that inner strength ladies and make this transformation happen!

21-day-program

Download Your 21-Day Bodybuilding Program for FREE << Click to Download (You also get our FREE Top Supplements That Actually Work Guide)


About the Authors
CecileB

Cecile Bayeul is a Registered Nurse, International fitness model/author and natural female bodybuilding champion who beat anorexia by embarking into a fitness program. She believes that by embarking into a fitness program you can not only achieve any body that you want but you can take control of your life and take it anywhere you want! You can follow Cecile via her fan page: www.facebook.com/cecilebayeul, her twitter: www.twitter.com/cecilebayeul, her YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/cecilebayeul or her personal site:

www.CecileBayeul.com

 

 

 


hugoHugo Rivera is an International best selling fitness author certified in personal training and nutrition with a computer engineering degree from the University of South Florida. Hugo is owner of www.hugorivera.net, an informational, free fitness and nutrition website. He is author of over 10 fitness books (with over a million copies sold) including his best sellers: Body Re-Engineering, The Body Sculpting Bible for Men, The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, the Weight Training Diary, and the Hardgainers Handbook of Bodybuilding. Today via his website HugoRivera.net, numerous articles, book publications, TV and radio appearances Hugo continues to educate the public on how to achieve the body of their dreams via the use of weight training exercise, good nutrition and correct supplementation. You can follow Hugo via:

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/hugoriverafitness
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hugorivera.net
Google Plus: www.google.com/+HugoriveraNetnaturalbodybuilding
Twitter: www.twitter.com/hrfit
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/hugoriverafitness
BodySpace: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/hrfit/

Bodybuilding Holiday Survival Guide: How To Maintain Your Bodybuilding Program Through The Holidays

HugoSurvivalGuide

The holidays are approaching with Christmas leading the way followed by New Years not too far behind. During this time of joy and happiness unfortunately most people, including some of us bodybuilders, tend to forget about their bodybuilding workouts and nutrition plans. If thoughts of dumping your fitness and bodybuilding program have crossed your mind, allow me to remind you that this road only leads to a physique that could be used as a ‘Before’ picture on the latest fat burner ads.

However, what if I told you that with some planning ahead you can have your cake and eat it too? I promise you that if you practice self discipline and follow all of the tactics discussed below, your fat gain during the Holidays will be minimized, and provided that you train hard, even if you use my bodybuilding holiday routine described below, you will come out with new muscle that you did not have before.

Bodybuilding Tips & Advice For Staying Fit During The Holidays

There are some key steps that need to be followed in order to stay fit during the Holidays. Follow the steps below and I guarantee you that come New Year, losing weight will not be on your list of resolutions:

1. Plan Ahead, Be Organized.

Plan your bodybuilding workout days one full week ahead. Because of the amounts of get-togethers and days that the gym may be closed, it is best if you decide a week ahead which days you will be attending the gym. Simply take out your calendar and schedule your workouts and even write down at what times these will be performed. In this manner, your chances of missing a workout due to parties or gym closures are eliminated.

2. Get Your Workouts In Early:

Workout as early as possible, preferably first thing in the morning. If your schedule is really hectic, I would advise waking up early and getting the training done, if possible, right before you go to work.

If this is not possible, then try doing it at lunch time or right after work so that nothing else interferes with your workout. On days off from work, definitely get the training done as early as possible.

3. Hugo’s Holiday Abbreviated Bodybuilding Routine ( See Below For Full Routine)

If you feel that you really cannot dedicate more than 3 days a week to your training, then just try out my Abbreviated Bodybuilding Holiday Routine shown below. The routine is designed for a serious natural bodybuilder that wants maximum muscle along with definition and is willing to train 3 days a week for 75 minutes. Not everybody is trying to look like a bodybuilder , if your just looking to tone up , then just cut 1 set for all the exercises listed and this will bring down your gym time by around 15-20 minutes so each workout will be around 55 minutes long or so. So less than 3 hours in total out of your entire week.

4. Planning Your Diet Cheat Days:

Plan Your Cheat Days Wisely. I have to say that I am an expert at this one. Reason for this is because Thanksgiving is on the 24th, my birthday is on December 5th, Christmas on the 25th and New Year’s on the 31.

So those are my cheat days. My advice is to attempt to space cheat days with at least 5-6 days in between, 6 being the better choice.

5. Eating Cheat Meals Wisely:

Eat your cheat meals wisely. When you have a cheat meal, start eating the protein portion first as this will get you to start getting full. Leave the carbs for the end of the meal.

Also, try to not stuff yourself. Instead allocate six hours of cheating per cheat day and instead of having just one huge binge meal that prevents you from even being able to walk after you are done, have 3 smaller meals instead; one every 90 minutes. Take around 30 minutes to savor and make sure that after you are done with each meal you feel like you have a bit of room left. The best strategy is to eat until you are comfortably full.

After your cheat period, go back on your regular diet.

6. Workout Before Cheating:

Before a cheat period it is great to have a tough workout first in order to minimize fat gain and maximize muscle gain. Reason for this is because after a workout the body is primed to absorb nutrients in the form of proteins and carbohydrates. Thus, having a cheat meal afterwards will ensure that most nutrients are used for recovery and muscle production.

7. Supplementing Before Cheating:

Take some 200mcg of Chromium Picolinate and 300 mg of Alpha Lipoic Acid at the beginning of your cheat period. These supplements help increase your cell’s ability to accept insulin and thus assimilate the extra carbohydrates better. As a matter of fact, increasing insulin sensitivity is one of the reasons why I like to have a big workout prior to the cheat period.

In addition, you can also take some Nitric Oxide Boosters and creatine as well 30 minutes prior to the first cheat meal in order to take advantage of the extra carbohydrates and insulin spike.

Finally, a good thermogenic supplement like Labrada’s Charge ASF is a good idea as well since this will ensure that your appetite is kept under control.

8. Have Essential Fatty Acids:

Have some EFA’s with your cheat meal. Research indicates that some essential fats like the ones found in flaxseed oil or fish oils have anti-lipolitic properties. In other words, they inhibit some of the enzymes responsible for fat storage. Because of this, by taking these fats with your first cheat meal of your cheat period, you can minimize some of the damage. They also serve as a good natural appetite suppressant.

One tablespoon of Carlson Fish Oils or Spectrum Flaxseed Oil should do the trick. Capsules can be used but you would need 10-14 of them to equal a tablespoon of the liquid version.

9. Have Digestive Enzymes Prior To Your Cheat Meal:

Take some digestive enzymes prior to each one of your cheat meals. This will ensure maximum nutrient assimilation and will also help you avoid feelings of excessive fullness and indigestion. The best formula is a comprehensive enzyme formula with enzymes for proper digestion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

10. Have A Walk After The Cheat Period:

Three to five hours after the cheat period has ended, have a 30-45 minute walk. I’m not talking about anything strenuous; around 3 miles per hour is a good pace. Doing some cardiovascular activity after the cheat period has ended will start burning some of the carbohydrates that may still be lingering around. The more of these you burn, the less likelihood of storing body fat. If you cannot do this walk on the same day of the cheat period then try it on the morning after on an empty stomach.

Hugo’s Abbreviated 3 Days Per Week Routine

For the purpose of continued muscle growth and fat loss over the holidays, I have used the principles of cycling (the three training phases, loading, growth and active recovery) that I always preach about in order to create a routine that will keep the muscle growth/fat loss process going during the next few months with minimum visits to the gym.

This is a 3 day a week routine but don’t let that fool you, it’s a tough routine and will do more than just maintain you. The longest routine is the one from week three. It lasts around 75 minutes.

Loading Phase

WEEK #1

Mon (13-15 reps), Wed (10-12 reps), Fri (8-10 reps)

Superset:
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 sets (No Rest)
Wide Grip Pull-Ups To Front 3 sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
Upright Rows 2 sets (No Rest)
Bent Over Laterals 2 sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
Seated Incline Curls 2 sets (No Rest)
Triceps Dips 2 sets (60 seconds)

Giant-set:
Leg Extensions 3 sets (No Rest)
Leg Curls 3 sets (No Rest)
Squats (Wide Stance) 3 sets (No Rest)
Calf Raises3 sets (60 seconds)

WEEK #2

Mon (13-15 reps), Wed (10-12 reps), Fri (8-10 reps)

Superset:
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4 sets (No Rest)
Wide Grip Pull-Ups To Front 4sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
Upright Rows 2 sets (No Rest)
Bent Over Laterals 2 sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
Seated Incline Curls 3sets (No Rest)
Triceps Dips 3 sets (60 seconds)

Giant-set:
Leg Extensions 4 sets (No Rest)
Leg Curls 4 sets (No Rest)
Squats (Wide Stance) 4 sets (No Rest)
Calf Raises 4 sets (60 seconds)

WEEK #3

Mon (13-15 reps), Wed (10-12 reps), Fri (8-10 reps)

Superset:

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 5sets (No Rest)
Wide Grip Pull-ups To Front 5sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
Upright Rows 3 sets (No Rest)
Bent Over Laterals 3 sets (60 seconds)

Superset:
Seated Incline Curls 3 sets (No Rest)
Triceps Dips 3 sets (60 seconds)

Giant-set:
Lunges 5 sets (No Rest)
Leg Curls 5 sets (No Rest)
Squats (Wide Stance) 5 sets (No Rest)
Calf Raises 5 sets (60 seconds)

Growth Phase

Weeks 4-6:

Mon (10-12 reps), Wed (8-10 reps), Fri (6-8 reps)

Modified Superset:
Incline Bench Press 3 sets (Rest 90 seconds)
Chin-ups (Palms facing you) 3sets (Rest 90 seconds)

Modified Giant-set:
Rear Delt Rows (performed like a reverse bench press) 2 sets (Rest 45 seconds)
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 2 sets (Rest 45 seconds)
E-Z Curls 2 sets (Rest 45 seconds)
Close Grip Bench Press 2 sets (Rest 45 seconds)

Modified Giant-set:
Lunges (press with ball of foot) 3 sets (Rest 60 seconds)
Leg Curls (Toes Out) 3 sets (Rest 60 seconds)
Squats or Leg Press 3 sets (Rest 60 seconds)
Calf Raises 3 sets (Rest 60 seconds)

Active Recovery Phase

After Week 6:

Two full-body workouts a week; a routine similar to the Growth Phase (above) performed only on Mondays and Thursdays with two sets per exercise, each set consisting of 13-15 repetitions.

Also, do 20-30 minutes of cardio, first thing in the morning on the days off (Tuesdays/Thursdays/Saturdays). Sunday is the total day of rest.

Holiday Bodybuilding Supplements Recommendation Summary

Below is a summary of the bodybuilding supplements you should be taking throughout the Holiday season:

Good Supplements To Take Prior To A Cheat Meal Period

200 mcg Chromium Picolinate
300 mg Alpha Lipoic Acid
Nitric Oxide Booster/Creatine Product Such As Labrada’s Labrada ReCharge
Digestive Enzymes
Essential Fats such as Flax or Fish Oils
Thermogenic/Appetite Suppressing Supplement like Labrada Charge Ephedra Free

Additional Basic Supplements

Comprehensive Multiple Vitamins and Mineral Formula (should go without saying)
Meal Replacement Packets or Protein Supplements to be used whenever not able to consume a real meal.
1 gram of vitamin C at Meals 1, 3 and 5. Extra vitamin C not only may help lower cortisol levels but also keeps immunity high during this period where most people catch colds.

Holiday Bodybuilding Dieting For Non-Cheat Days

Please take a look at the diet below so that you have an idea of what your bodybuilding diet during your “non-cheat days” should consist of:

Sample Bodybuilding Diet For Men

Meal 1 (7 AM)
1 cup of dry oats mixed with water
1 cup of egg beaters

Meal 2 (9 AM)
Meal replacement packet like Labrada’s Lean Body mixed with water or a protein powder (with around 40 grams of protein) mixed with 40 grams of carbs from cream of rice, grits, or oatmeal.

1 Tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil (Spectrum brand is best) or Fish Oils (Carlson Brand is Best)

Meal 3 (12 Noon)
1 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6-8 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 4 (3 PM)
Same as Meal 2 but without flaxseed oil.

Meal 5 (6 PM)
1 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6-8 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 6 (8 PM)
2 scoops of slow released proteins like Pro V60 and 1 tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil or Fish Oils

Sample Bodybuilding Diet For Women

Meal 1 (7 AM)
1/2 cup of dry oats mixed with water
1/2 cup of egg beaters

Meal 2 (9 AM)
Meal replacement packet like Labrada’s Lean Body for Her mixed with water or a protein powder (with around 25-30 grams of protein) mixed with 25-30 grams of carbs from cream of rice, grits, or oatmeal.
1/2 Tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil (Spectrum Brand is Best) or Fish Oils (Carlson Brand Is Best)

Meal 3 (12 Noon)
1/2 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 4 (3 PM)
Same as Meal 2 but no flaxseed oil.

Meal 5 (6 PM)
1/2 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 6 (8 PM)
1 scoop of slow released proteins like Pro V60 and 1/2 tablespoon of Flaxseed Oil or Fish Oils

Conclusion

Try out the tips and workout above, and provided that you follow a good diet along with it just limiting yourself to cheat meals on Christmas day and New Years Eve, you should avoid the catastrophic effects that the holidays leave behind in moat people. As a matter of fact, you should look better!

Best of Health and Happy Holidays!

Take care and train hard!

hugo_sign

 

 

 

About the Author

hugoHugo Rivera is an International best selling fitness author certified in personal training and nutrition with a computer engineering degree from the University of South Florida. Hugo is owner of www.hugorivera.net, an informational, free fitness and nutrition website. He is author of over 10 fitness books (with over a million copies sold) including his best sellers: Body Re-Engineering, The Body Sculpting Bible for Men, The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, the Weight Training Diary, and the Hardgainers Handbook of Bodybuilding. Today via his website HugoRivera.net, numerous articles, book publications, TV and radio appearances Hugo continues to educate the public on how to achieve the body of their dreams via the use of weight training exercise, good nutrition and correct supplementation. You can follow Hugo via:

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/hugoriverafitness
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hugorivera.net
Google Plus: www.google.com/+HugoriveraNetnaturalbodybuilding
Twitter: www.twitter.com/hrfit
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/hugoriverafitness
BodySpace: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/hrfit/

1 Powerful Bodybuilding Technique For Avoiding Muscle Building Plateaus

plateaus

The biggest problem that bodybuilders encounter is that while at first the gains of muscle mass come rather quickly, soon after they hit a plateau (a point where gains cease to come by). Sometimes it seems that no matter how hard they workout at the gym, the muscle mass just seems to remain the same. As a result, this causes frustration and leads most people to either give up, buy a whole bunch of supplements or even use anabolic steroids.

The good news is that this is the very reason I decided to write this report. I want to share with you a secret that I have found after years of trial and error of different training and nutrition strategies.

I have found that there is a way that you can accelerate your muscle mass gains and fat loss dramatically and prevent it from reaching the dreaded plateau. By applying this principle you will be able to fulfill your genetic potential as quickly as humanly possible.

Not only will bodybuilders double their results from each workout (and cut their supplement bill and training time dramatically), but they’ll also get to greatly accelerate results in terms of massive muscle gains, strength and fat loss.

But first a little bit about myself.

How I Got Started

My formal education background believe it or not is in Computer Engineering. I graduated from the University of South Florida back in 1998. So the question is: how did I end up from engineering to being a competitive bodybuilder and best selling fitness author?

Well, I actually used to be very overweight as I was growing up so at an early age I experienced the feelings of insecurity that come along with obesity as well as the scorn and ridicule from some people. Since I kept hearing that the reason for my weight problems was food and that I had to stop eating, I took the advice to heart being sick and tired of how I looked and felt.

So this resulted in me going anorexic at the age of 13 and losing a total of 70 pounds in less than a year. My family, very concerned about my health, took me to a nutritionist in an effort to put some sense in me and stop the anorexic cycle.

This nutritionist mentioned one thing that changed my outlook on dieting forever: “Eating food will not make you fat; only the abuse of the wrong sort of foods will.” After listening to that statement, it all seemed to make sense. I then began following the diet she gave me and started to study the effects of foods on the human physiology.

By the age of fifteen a girl that I really liked back then told me that I would look better if I had some muscle on me. She said that though I looked good, I was too skinny. Keep in mind that anorexia left me weighing a bit less than 100-lbs.

So I asked my mom to get me a muscle magazine, the May 1990 Muscle & Fitness (which I still have to this day) so that I could educate myself on the subject. After I saw an article called: “How To Get BIG” written by the one and only, Arnold Schwarzenegger, I was hooked! To me, Arnold just looked perfect so I chose him as the role model to follow. I also got inspired by the physiques of Lee Labrada, Shawn Ray, and Francis Benfatto who were competing extremely successfully back then. To me, all of these guys exemplified perfection, real works of art. They all ate 6 times a day and trained hard day in and day out.

So I simply started with following the training program and diet laid out by Arnold on his article. As I was so underweight and skinny at the time, even with Arnold’s training, which was pretty much overtraining, I still gained 40lbs during the summer. A proper six meal a day diet and regular training with me being very underweight really pushed on the muscle mass even if I did gain a little fat as well, but it was amazing to me and all my friends thought I was on steroids! Yet, I did not even have a clue of what steroids where at that time!

Come to think of it, I guess that I was on steroids due to the fact that I was a teenager back then producing tons of hormones (yes guys, if you are teenagers then you are on the most powerful stack of anabolic steroids; the one produced by your own body)! This, in conjunction with the fact that once I started to feed myself 6 times eating around 3,500-4,000 calories a day, made me grow beyond belief on a daily basis and I guess this is what got me really hooked and led me to become an avid natural bodybuilder.

After, gaining all that mass, I reached a plateau unfortunately; a sticking point I could not get past. As much as I loved Arnold I realized a natural bodybuilder like me could not keep up with the routines of professional bodybuilders who were taking drugs and so I took to reading countless books in my quest to find a perfect system.

The frustrating problem was that I started getting exposed to absolutely contradicting theories on how to best gain muscle and lose fat. Upset at the fact that no one could give me a straight answer I decided to take matters in my own hand and use myself as well as my training partner as guinea pigs in order to find out what worked. This was the first time I really knew that I was going to create my own system as I was going to test everything on myself, my training partner and friends in order to find out what worked and what didn’t so that I could then throw out the bad and keep the good.

I started my quest by recording everything I did down to the last detail. I’m quite analytical as a person, which is I guess why I became an engineer years later, but even early It showed as I read every book and article everywhere I could get my hands on. I was like a sponge for information, reading stuff from trainers from all over the world. I started to put together training routines and diet programs, and while some failed miserably some worked!

For instance, I will never forget what happened when I went from training 2-3 hours a day to training for 45 minutes. I went through a growth spurt again! So through endless training routines and diet combinations I started to really understand what worked and what didn’t for me and my training partners. I started finding principles and patterns of training that seemed to work on everyone I tried them on. Above all, the most exciting part of my discoveries was the fact that there was no necessity to stay all day at the gym in order to get results! Because I felt that not many people in the industry cared about trainees actually reaching their goals, I decided to create a web site and start conducting personal training during my college years in an effort to spread all of the knowledge that I had acquired.

Once I had dialed in the timing, frequency and the important details of training and nutrition cycling, that is when I created training routines that eliminated plateaus. It was at this point that I became passionate about sharing my knowledge with people as I fully understood I could help to double everyone’s results at the gym in half the time if they would employ my training and nutrition cycling principles.

Because I needed to put together a website in order to graduate from Engineering school (that was my Senior Project) that is how I started to post my first few fitness articles, and not much later became a best selling fitness author. Notice that it took me from the time I was 14 years old to after I graduated from college to learn all the secrets to muscle building and fat loss on my own. However, with this article, I am confident that I can save anyone from all the troubles that I went through.

Plateaus Don’t Need to Happen!

How many times have you heard that plateaus are inevitable? Well, it’s time to say goodbye to plateaus forever!

Typically, the people that make this statement are people who have been on the same routine for months to an end (or even years).

The thing to understand when it comes to plateaus is that they happen when:

1) Your training is not stimulating muscle growth because your body is absolutely used to it (thus, there is no stimulus to grow).

2) Your nutrition is off: meaning that you are not eating 5-6 times a day, and you are not consuming the amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats that your body requires in order to make great gains.

The key thing to understand is that the body is a living organism that will always adapt to any stress that you put it through. Thus, when people start to train, they make great gains at first since the body is not used at all to the stress of weight training. As a result, rapid changes in the body occur. However, as time goes by, the gains slow down and unless you do something about it, progress will come to a sudden stop.

I went through many frustrating years of this until I found out that if you change routines around, you make more gains. However, it was only when I found out that if you periodize your program in a logical manner (by alternating between periods of high volume/ high reps/ fast paced training with periods of lower volume/heavier weight/slower training) that makes use of the body’s own adaptation mechanisms you will make incredible “steroid like” gains.

In order for the body to respond optimally, it cannot be trained in the same manner all the time. The best way to make the body respond is through the correct variation of exercises, volume (number of sets times number of reps), intensity (how heavy the weight is), and rest periods between sets.

Workout parameters are going to be determined by the phase of the program you are in. There are going to be three phases that we will be repeating over and over again. The first week will be an “Active Recovery Phase”. In this phase you will only train with weights twice a week on a full body routine before you start the next phase which will be called the “Loading Phase”. The “Loading Phase”, which is three weeks in duration, is going to be a high volume phase with short rest between sets. Training volume gradually increases over the course of the three weeks in order to stress the body almost to the point of overtraining.

Then the next three weeks are going to be a higher intensity/lower volume phase (heavier weights) with longer periods of rest between sets. This phase is called the “Growth Phase”, as volume is reduced but weights are increased in order to let the body catch up and super compensate (grow muscle size and strength).

Here is a sample 21 Day Routine that you can use to get you started on your road to making some serious gains:

21-day-program

Download Your 21-Day Bodybuilding Program for FREE << Click to Download (You also get my FREE Top Supplements That Work Guide)

Now, as you get even more advanced, you can manipulate even more variables, such as the speed at which you perform the repetitions, the training splits used and you can also use advanced techniques such as drop sets, partial reps, forced repetitions, and even varying the speed in which you perform your repetitions in order to keep stimulating muscle gains.

Again, the trick is to always follow a program that takes your body to the brink of overtraining and then backs off a bit in order to allow your body to catch up, recover and grow at an accelerated rate. Of course, in order to make great gains your nutrition has to be top notch. Training without the right nutrition will not provide you the results you are looking for since you will be stimulating muscle growth BUT you will not have the raw materials to build it. It is no different than having tons of contractors ready to build a skyscraper but there is no cement for them to use. So because of that, you need to fuel yourself correctly.

Diet Is As Important As Training!

Nutrition is what gives us the raw materials for recuperation, energy, and growth. Without a good diet, your dreams of achieving your ideal body will never be reached. I cannot even begin to tell you how many trainees sabotage great gym efforts by not following the proper nutrition plan.

In order to gain solid muscle you need to be eating 5-6 small meals a day (at least a breakfast, a lunch and a dinner with protein shakes in between). You also need to take in
1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of lean bodyweight. Protein is what gives you the raw materials for building the tissues in the body (including muscle of course).

In terms of good fats, you need around 1-2 teaspoons of fish oils and/or flax seed oil three times a day (1 for ladies and 2 for guys). To be honest, I take as much as 1 tablespoon of Carlson fish oils 3x/day. You can also have a serving of nuts (if you are not allergic to them) or 1-2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil as well. The fact is that in order to gain muscle and lose fat properly you NEED good fats. Good fats provide you with the essential fatty acids that the body needs for brain function, energy production, joint tissue health, and hormonal production! If you eliminate fats from your diet completely, your muscle mass gains and fat loss will greatly suffer! So will brain function! Thus, you need good fats and these will make an incredible change in your health and appearance!

In terms of carbs, you do need good complex carbs for energy production. Slower metabolisms (on the average) can do 0.8-1 gram of carbs per lean body weight for 5 days
and 1.5 grams for 2 days. Hardgainers may need as much as 1.5-2 grams for 5 days and as much as 3 grams for 2 days.

(NOTE: For good sample diets check out the ones at the end of this article below.)

Sample Diets

Usually people associate the word diet with days of starvation and pain. However that is not the correct definition of a diet. The word diet refers to the food choices that we make on a daily basis. Even if you don’t think you that you are on a diet, guess what?! You already are following a diet. Whether you eat candy all day everyday, or oatmeal, that is your diet.

You Don’t Have to Starve When You Diet

A good bodybuilding diet needs to follow 3 rules:

1. It should favor smaller and frequent feedings throughout the day instead of smaller ones.

2. Every meal should have carbohydrates, protein and fat in the correct ratios: 40% carbs, 40% protein, 20 % good fats.

3. The calories should be cycled to prevent the metabolism from getting used to a certain caloric level.

While my article on Bodybuilding Nutrition Basics further elaborates on the reasons why the rules above need to be followed, in addition to a discussion on carbohydrates, proteins and fats, I’ll move now to present you with two examples of good bodybuilding diets.

Sample Bodybuilding Diet For Men

Meal 1 (7 AM)
1 cup of dry oats mixed with water
1 cup of egg beaters

Meal 2 (9 AM)
Meal replacement packet mixed with water or a protein powder (with around 40 grams of protein) mixed with 40 grams of carbs from cream of rice, grits, or oatmeal.

1 Tablespoon of Fish Oils (Carlson Fish Oil brand is best)

Meal 3 (12 Noon)
1 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6-8 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 4 (3 PM)
Same as Meal 2

Meal 5 (6 PM)
1 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6-8 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 6 (8 PM)
Same as Meal 2

Recommended Basic Bodybuilding Supplements For Men

(Essential to take)

Definitely make sure that you cover at least the basics of supplementation which are a Multiple Vitamin and Mineral formula, 3 grams of Vitamin C split in 3 equal servings throughout the day, 200mcg of Chromium Picolinate, and essential fatty acids coming from either fish oils, flaxseed oil or extra virgin olive oil. Also, for convenience purposes a good meal replacement or protein powder is a great way to add valuable calories and nutrients to your diet.

Performance Enhancing Supplementation

(Recommended for hard training bodybuilders who want to get the most out of their program}

In addition to those basic supplements, I would also recommend Creatine and Glutamine as these two supplements offer many of the same properties as anabolic steroids (such as increased recovery, increased strength, increased glycogen levels, enhanced immune system and higher nitrogen synthesis) without the side effects as they are not hormones.

Download Your Top Supplements Guide for FREE << Click to Download (If you already downloaded the 21-day program above, you will also get this document as well)

Sample Bodybuilding Diet For Women

Meal 1 (7 AM)
1/2 cup of dry oats mixed with water
1/2 cup of egg beaters

Meal 2 (9 AM)
1/2 Meal replacement packet mixed with water or a protein powder (with around 20 grams of protein) mixed with 20 grams of carbs from cream of rice, grits, or oatmeal.
1/2 Tablespoon of Fish Oils (Carlson Fish Oil brand is best)

Meal 3 (12 Noon)
1/2 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 4 (3 PM)
Same as Meal 2

Meal 5 (6 PM)
1/2 cup of brown rice, or medium sized baked potato, or 1 cup of oatmeal
2 cups of green beans, broccoli or any other desired vegetable
6 ounces of chicken, turkey, or lean fish

Meal 6 (8 PM)
Same as Meal 2

Recommended Basic Bodybuilding Supplements For Women

(Essential to take)

Definitely make sure that you cover at least the basics of supplementation which are a Multiple Vitamin and Mineral formula, 3 grams of Vitamin C split in 3 equal servings throughout the day, 200mcg of Chromium Picolinate, and essential fatty acids coming from either fish oils, flaxseed oil or extra virgin olive oil. Also, for convenience purposes a good meal replacement or protein powder is a great way to add valuable calories and nutrients to your diet.

Performance Enhancing Supplementation

(Recommended for hard training bodybuilders who want to get the most out of their program}

In addition to those basic supplements, I would also recommend Creatine and Glutamine as these two supplements offer many of the same properties as anabolic steroids (such as increased recovery, increased strength, increased glycogen levels, enhanced immune system and higher nitrogen synthesis) without the side effects as they are not hormones.

Download Your Top Supplements Guide for FREE << Click to Download (If you already downloaded the 21-day program above, you will also get this document as well)

Final Notes On Nutrition

You can experiment with various foods and also even substitute the protein shakes for real meals as well (though for most of you, protein shakes and meal replacements are more convenient). After 5 weeks of following this diet program, start adjusting your calories and cycling them as described in my Bodybuilding Nutrition Basics article.

Conclusion

Now you have a few tricks up your sleeve in order to add some pounds of solid muscle to your frame. Implement them and start to grow!!

Take care and train hard!

hugo_sign

 

 

 

About the Author

hugoHugo Rivera is an International best selling fitness author certified in personal training and nutrition with a computer engineering degree from the University of South Florida. Hugo is owner of www.hugorivera.net, an informational, free fitness and nutrition website. He is author of over 10 fitness books (with over a million copies sold) including his best sellers: Body Re-Engineering, The Body Sculpting Bible for Men, The Body Sculpting Bible for Women, the Weight Training Diary, and the Hardgainers Handbook of Bodybuilding. Today via his website HugoRivera.net, numerous articles, book publications, TV and radio appearances Hugo continues to educate the public on how to achieve the body of their dreams via the use of weight training exercise, good nutrition and correct supplementation. You can follow Hugo via:

YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/hugoriverafitness
Facebook: www.facebook.com/hugorivera.net
Google Plus: www.google.com/+HugoriveraNetnaturalbodybuilding
Twitter: www.twitter.com/hrfit
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/hugoriverafitness
BodySpace: http://bodyspace.bodybuilding.com/hrfit/

Natural Bodybuilding Workouts That Fix Disproportionate Muscle Growth

Disproportionate muscle growth, or having muscles on one side of the body grow more than on the other, is a normal problem in natural bodybuilding that beginners who are just getting started encounter. Listed below are my recommendations on how to deal with this problem, with sample natural bodybuilding routines on how to fix an uneven chest and shoulders.

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The first thing that I would do is check your form. When one is a beginner, the stronger side (typically the right one if one is right-handed though this is not always the case) tends to do more work than the other one resulting in disproportionate development.

My recommendations to fix this are:

1.Practice perfect form: By ensuring proper form not only you ensure that the targeted muscles are the ones doing the work but also that both sides are putting an equal amount of force as the movement is performed, thus preventing imbalances.

2.Concentrate on activating the muscles of the weak side: When performing the movement, really concentrate on using and squeezing the muscles of your weak side to move the weight. This extra concentration will ensure that your dominant side is not the one doing the work.

3.Perform extra sets of unilateral movements to only target the underdeveloped area: Doing a few extra sets that solely focus on your weak side will teach the body to better activate the muscle fibers of that side.

 

Sample Natural Bodybuilding Routines That Fix Disproportionate Muscle Growth
Listed below are a couple of examples of how you can set up a routine that will help you fix your imbalances.

Example #1: Chest Natural Bodybuilding Routine

Superset:

•Incline Bench Press 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Dumbbell Press 4 sets of 8-12 (Ensure that the dumbbell is light enough as you will need to balance yourself)

Superset:

•Chest Dips 3 sets of 8-12

•Unilateral Incline Flyes 3 sets of 8-12

Example #2: Shoulder Natural Bodybuilding Routine

Superset:

•Unilateral Lateral Raise 3 sets of 12-15

•Upright Rows 3 sets of 8-12

Superset:

•Bent Over Laterals 3 sets of 10-12

•Unilateral Shoulder Dumbbell Press 3 sets of 12-15

Routine Notes: Only rest 1 minute in between supersets and watch those lagging areas grow.

 

What If One Whole Side of the Body Is Visibly More Developed Than the Other One?

If one side of the body is visibly more developed than the other, as often happens to athletes who practice sports like bowling, where one side is used predominantly, then I would recommend dedicating whole workouts to exercising only the weak side.

The sample natural bodybuilding workouts below illustrate how to set up a unilateral bodybuilding routine that for example purposes is targeting the left side of the body (as the right side is the more developed one):

 

Workout (A) Chest/Back/Biceps/Triceps (Monday)

Workout (B) Delts/Thighs/Hamstrings/Calves (Tuesday)

Off (Wednesday)

Workout (C) Chest/Back/Biceps/Triceps (Thursday)

Workout (D) Delts/Thighs/Hamstrings/Calves (Friday)

Off (Weekend)

 

Workouts (A) and (B) train both sides of the body equally while Workouts (C) and (D) should just consist of unilateral movements for the left side only. See the sample unilateral workouts below:

 

Workout (C)

•Unilateral Incline Dumbbell Press 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Flat Dumbbell Press 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Pulldown (use a pulley) 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Dumbbell Row 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Concentration Curl 3 sets of 8-12 reps

•Hammer Curl 3 sets of 8-12 reps

•Triceps Pushdown (Use Pulley; Palm of hand facing down) 3 sets of 8-12 reps

•Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extension (left arm only) 3 sets of 8-12 reps

 

Workout (D)

•Unilateral Shoulder Press 3 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Rear Delt Machine 3 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Lateral Raise 2 sets of 8-12 reps

•Lunges (left side only) 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Leg Press (left side only) 3 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Leg Extensions 2 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Leg Curls 4 sets of 8-12 reps

•Unilateral Calf Press 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Workout Notes: Only rest 1 minute in between sets.

I hope that this gets your questions on uneven muscle growth answered!

Take care and train hard!

Until next time, take care and train hard!

hugo_sign

 

 

 

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Best Bodybuilding Workout for Gaining Muscle Weight: Gain Muscle Weight Using the 10 Sets of 10 Reps Bodybuilding Workout

10Sets10

What Is The 10 Sets of 10 Reps Bodybuilding Workout and How Can It Be Used To Gain Weight?

The 10 sets of 10 reps bodybuilding workout has been used in bodybuilding circles for years in order to break through plateaus and make weight gains in the form of lean muscle mass. Many people have claimed to its invention, but regardless of who came up with it, it has been used with great success by awesome bodybuilders from the past such as Vince Gironda, as well as Dave Draper and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Today, many athletes on the know still use this method and even elite strength coaches, such as Charles Poliquin, are great advocates of it and use it on their Olympic athletes when they are in need of gaining muscle weight quickly. I’ve used this method myself without fail since early on my bodybuilding career. It never ceases to yield great results. As a matter of fact, early on when I was less informed, I thought that I had invented it. That was until I found out that this bodybulding workout has been around since the early 60s!

The 10 sets of 10 reps bodybuilding workout has proven time and time again to be fantastic at increasing muscle mass through the systematic fatigue of the muscle fibers being worked on. In order to implement a 10×10 routine, a mass building exercise is chosen and a weight that you can perform for 15 reps or so is selected. However, you will stop your set once you achieve 10 reps. Your rest in between sets should be limited to a minute and you need to refrain yourself from resting more as you start fatiguing since increasing the rest time would defeat the purpose of the routine, which is to cause systematic fatigue on a specific muscle. The goal of this bodybuilding workout routine is to use the same weight for all ten sets and to be able to perform all sets for 10 reps in good form. You will notice that as fatigue sets in, the sets become more and more challenging. You may not be able to perform all sets for 10 reps. If that is the case, then start lowering the weight once you do a set where less than 10 reps are performed. Once you can do all 10 sets for 10 reps, then it is time for you to go up in weight.

How Many Exercises Do I Need To Use In The 10 Sets of 10 Reps Bodybuilding Workout Program?

Is there a need for more exercises once you do the one for 10 sets of 10? I always like to include a second exercise for the larger muscle groups in order to hit a different angle but the second exercise is more of an isolation type and I just perform it for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

Now let’s take a look at my recommended 10 sets of 10 reps program.

Mass Building 10 Sets of 10 Reps Bodybuilding Workout Routine

WORKOUT (A): THIGHS/HAMSTRINGS/CALVES

rod-shrugs1Superset:
Squats 10 sets of 10 reps (no rest)
Leg Curls 10 sets of 10 reps (1 minute of rest)

Superset:
Leg Extensions 3 sets of 10-12 reps (no rest)
Stiff Legged Dead-lifts 3 sets of 10-12 reps (1 minute of rest)

Calf Raises 10 sets of 10 reps (1 minute of rest)

WORKOUT (B): CHEST/BACK/ABS

Superset:
Incline Bench Press 10 sets of 10 reps (no rest)
Wide Grip Pull-up to Front 10 sets of 10 reps (1 minute of rest)

Superset:
Flat Bench Flyes 3 sets of 10-12 reps (no rest)
Low Pulley Rows 3 sets of 10-12 reps (1 minute of rest)

Leg Raise & Crunch Combination 10 sets of 10 reps (1 minute of rest)

WORKOUT (C): SHOULDERS/BICEPS/TRICEPS

Upright Rows 10 sets of 10 reps (1 minute of rest)

Bent Over Lateral Raises 3 sets of 10-12 reps (1 minute rest)

Superset:
Incline Curls 10 sets of 10 reps (no rest)
Triceps Dips 10 sets of 10 reps (1 minute of rest)

 

Workout Frequency

I’ve benefited from doing each body part twice a week so I would perform Workout (A) on Monday/Thursday, Workout (B) on Tuesday/Friday and Workout (C) on Wednesday/Saturday. I’ve noticed however that this type of frequency works best for Endomorphs like myself, which are people with a slow metabolism who as a result have faster recuperation capabilities. You can also do 3 days on and one day off or simply workout from Monday through Friday rotating workouts. So the first week you will end the week with Workout (B) and as a result you will start the following week with Workout (C) on Monday.

Mesomorphs, or naturally muscular and lean people, fare well by performing the routine in the following manner:

Day 1-Workout (A), Day 2-Rest, Day 3-Workout (B), Day 4-Rest, Day 5-Workout (C), Day 6-Start cycle again with Workout (A). With this sequence, each body part is trained once every five days. This routine also provides good recuperation for those of you that work over 40 hours a week and cannot afford to be at the gym for 6 days.

Ectomorphs, or hardgainers, are those of you who are naturally skinny and have a super fast metabolism. If this is your case, then you are best served by training every other day, and if you cannot train over the weekends, then just Monday, Wednesday and Friday performing Workout (A) on Monday, Workout (B) on Wednesday and Workout (C) on Friday.

When To Change

After going through Workouts (A), (B), and (C) six times, change your routine to one that is heavier in weights (with around 5-6 reps mostly) and contains less sets. A good routine would be one that uses 5 sets of 5 reps with different basic exercises than the one above.

Bodybuilding Diet Advice

In order to benefit most from this routine, remember that you have to nourish yourself! Weight training provides the spark for muscle growth while food provides the raw materials required for making bodybuilding gains. For more information on which type of diet to follow, please take a look at my Bulking Up Rules for the Natural Bodybuilder article.

Bodybuilding Supplements

A good supplementation program is imperative in order to recover and make the best possible gains from such a demanding bodybuilding program. Please take a look at my Bodybuilding Supplementation Basics article, my Creatine Monohydrate Basics article, and my Preserve Lean Mass With Glutamine article.

Word on Rest and Recovery

hugo-side-shotDon’t forget that muscles grow when you rest, not while you are at the gym. Therefore, make sure that you get your 8 hours of sleep or at the very least 7 hours each night and make up any lost sleep over the weekends. Not meeting your sleep requirements on a consistent basis leads to sleep depravation, a condition which besides creating constantly low energy levels, promotes a hormonal environment that increases the muscle destroying (and fat depositing) hormone cortisol and lowers your muscle producing hormone testosterone. For more information on how much sleep you require, how to determine if you are sleep deprived, what steps to take in order to ensure a good night’s sleep, and finally, the maladies caused by sleep depravation, take a look at the articles below.

The Sleep Cycle & the 8 Maladies Caused By Sleep Deprivation

Learn what the four phases of the sleep cycle are, how much on the average you should be sleeping each night for maximum results and what happens when you get sleep deprived.

4 Guidelines To Ensuring A Good Night Sleep

Learn 4 guidelines that you can follow to ensure a good night sleep.

Conclusion

Well, there you have the most results producing bodybuilding workout program ever for gaining lean muscle weight, in my opinion. If you are ready to change your bodybuilding workout routine, give this program a try and provided that your nutrition, supplementation and rest are in order, then it will not fail to give you the bodybuilding gains that you are looking for.

Until next time, take care and train hard!

hugo_sign

 

 

 

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Natural Bodybuilding Tip: High Reps vs Low Reps for Gaining Muscle With Hugo & Rodzilla

In today’s natural bodybuilding video blog, I cover with my good friend Rodzilla whether workouts performed with high reps or low reps are better for gaining muscle.

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It is best to use both high reps and low reps in order to build muscle optimally. So basically you use periodization in which should do loading phases (3-4 weeks) in which you do higher reps (10-15 reps…sometimes going as high as 20-30 reps). Research indicates that you do get hypertrophy even at the higher rep ranges. And then you should do a Growth Phase in which you cut down on the volume (limiting sets to 10 total per body part; example: 4 sets of exercise #1 and then 3 sets for exercises #2 and #3) and then in terms of reps 5-8 reps.

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Keep in mind that you need to change your routines in order to keep the results coming. By following periodization principles, you will be able to avoid overtraining. Try to finish your workouts within 60 minutes in order to keep your testosterone levels high and cortisol levels low. That, combined with proper form and muscle tension will give you the best results possible.

Here is a sample periodized routine: Natural Bodybuilding Workout With Periodization

Hope that this bodybuilding tip helps. Please let me know what other tips you would like us to talk about.

Until next time, take care and train hard!

hugo_sign

 

 

 

Smith Machine VS Free Weights Squats : Pros & Cons, With Hugo & Rodzilla

In today’s natural bodybuilding video blog, I cover with my good friend Rodzilla the pros and cons of Smith Machine vs Free Weights Squats.

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Is it good to substitute all of your free weights squats with the smith machine version? That is the bodybuilding question that we are covering today. The answer is: this not a good idea.

Rodzilla for example, tore both of his knees with the smith machine. The reason for this is because he was only using the smith machine squat version. As a result, certain muscles that get activated with the free weight version were not being activated with the smith machine. This caused strength imbalances that resulted in the tearing of the knees.

I do believe that the smith machine squats are great but only when used in conjunction with free weight squats. And if there is any reason why you cannot do the squats with a bar on your back, a great alternative is to do them holding a dumbbell in each hand. You can also do front squats (squats with a bar on the front of the shoulders).

Best results from the squat of course come from the free weights. All of your leg muscles (quads, hamstrings, glutes and even the calves) get activated with the proper execution of the free weights squat. Remember that the body is designed to be in a 3-dimensional universe. Thus, when you perform free weight movements you will engage stabilizer muscles that you do not engage otherwise.

Also keep in mind that there is no need to go crazy with the weight. Use proper form at all times and concentrate on pushing with your leg muscles.

One last thing. Remember that if you are super strong on the smith machine that strength will not translate at 100% to the free weight version. However, if you are really strong on the free weight version then you will be super strong on the smith machine version (as this version is more easy.)

Hope that this bodybuilding tip helps. Please let me know what other tips you would like us to talk about.

Until next time, take care and train hard!

hugo_sign

 

 

 

How To Build Up Strength To Do Pull-Ups With Hugo & Rodzilla

In today’s natural bodybuilding video blog, I cover with my good friend Rodzilla how to build up strength to do pull-ups.

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How To Build Up Strength To Do Pull-Ups With Hugo & Rodzilla

A lot of people stay away from pull-ups as they cannot do them at the beginning. In fact, I remember when I was an overwight little boy and at physical education class the coach would stick me at the pull-up bar and I would just hang there clueless as there was no way I could pull myself up.

There are many ways however that you can train yourself in order to have the strength to do the pull-ups.

If You Are Just Getting Started With Bodybuilding Training
In this case, I suggest starting out with the pull-down machine. The pull-down machine simulates the pull-up movement. It is not as effective of course since with the pull-up you are moving your body through space. Therefore, you need to activate many more muscle fibers during the pull-up than you need to with the pull-downs. I suggest doing:

Wide Grip Pull-downs
Close Reverse Grip Pull-downs
Neutral Grip Pull-downs

Spend 6 months working with the pull-down machine in order to learn how to activate your back muscles and grow strength in this area.

What To Do After 6 Months Of Doing Pull-Downs?
At this point you should be able to do at least 1 pull-up and thus, you can graduate to the smith machine. You will set the smith machine bar at the highest level and then you will use your feet in order to self spot yourself once you cannot perform any more pull-up repetitions on your own. In this manner, you will be able to do as many pull-ups as you want and you will be able to self-regulate how much assistance to give yourself.

What About The Chin Assist (Or Gravitron) Machine?
If the gym has this machine, instead of starting with the pull-down I would start with this machine instead as there is nothing better than training the body to move through space from the beginning. The way that this machine works is that you can select the amount of weight that will assist you on the way up. As you get stronger, you will use less weight to perform your repetitions. This is the best way to learn how to do pull-ups.

Conclusion
Be patient and consistent. If you persevere, your pull-up strength will grow and your back muscles as well. In my opinion, pull-ups are the king of back exercises. Learn how to do these and a wide, thick and powerful back will be yours in no time.

I hope that you found this video blog useful.

Until next time, take care and train hard!

3 Common Natural Bodybuilding Mistakes That Prevent Gains

Today I will share another great article from my friend, Natural Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe John Hansen. In this article, John shares 3 common natural bodybuilding mistakes that prevent gains.

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3 Common Natural Bodybuilding Mistakes That Prevent Gains
by John Hansen, Natural Mr. Olympia / Mr. Universe
MP6 Program Creator

There are many excuses used in regards to the difficulty of building bigger muscles. Some say that you have to born with very rare genetics in order to have the ability to get big. Others claim that you have to use a lot of anabolic steroids to have any chance of building an impressive physique.

However, there are also many mistakes that can be made along the way to building muscle mass. These errors may be the real reason that so many aspiring bodybuilders find it so difficult to build more muscle.

Many of us make the mistake of following what the professional bodybuilders do in our quest for more muscle. This seems logical but the reality is that the pros often have advantages that most of us don’t have. Trying to mimic their training routines and nutrition programs often leads to frustration and failure.

I made the same mistake when I began lifting weights at the young age of 14 years old. I had no idea what type of training program I should follow to build bigger muscles so I simply copied the exact workout routine of the current Mr. Olympia. I was soon training twice a day, six days a week to speed up my muscle building gains. Unfortunately, my results were slow and disappointing.

Here are the three main mistakes that most bodybuilders make in their quest for building more muscle mass. If you are performing one or more of these training errors, this could be what is holding you back from building more muscle.

 

Mistake #1 – Doing Too Many Sets – The idea of “more is better” is common in our society. The harder you work and the more time you spend trying to achieve a goal, the more successful you will be. If you want to get better grades, study more. If you want to make more money, work more hours. If you want to build bigger muscles, do more sets and make your workouts even longer.

Unfortunately, building muscle doesn’t work that way. Muscles grow bigger in response to stress. This stress adaptation response can be compared to getting a sun tan or developing calluses on your hands. When the body is subjected to stress, it responds by adapting to that stress and becoming stronger. The skin darkens in response to the exposure to the sun, calluses develop in response to the friction against the skin and your muscles grow larger in response to the extra resistance placed on them.

If the stress is too intense or too long, the muscles may actually break down more than build up. This can happen if the muscles are not given enough time to recuperate from the workout or if too many sets are performed during a workout. When you do too many sets in a workout, the intensity level actually goes down because it is impossible to train extremely hard and long at the same time.

By reducing the amount of sets that are performed in a workout, you will be able to train much harder and put more into each set which equates to more stress on the muscles plus saving enough energy to rebuild the muscle tissues. The key to really building more muscle mass is to impose more stress on them by overloading them with more resistance and then giving them enough time to recuperate and grow. Using too many sets will burn up your energy reserves without helping you to build more muscle.

 

Mistake #2 – Relying on the Pump – Getting a good pump in the muscles is one of the best benefits to lifting weights. The muscles get larger when they are pumped up and it feels both mentally and physically satisfying to achieve this condition. Arnold Schwarzenegger jokingly compared getting a pump to a sexual orgasm in the film “Pumping Iron”.

Although pumping blood into the muscles is a factor in building bigger muscles, some bodybuilders mistake a pump for growth. The key to building more muscle mass is to subject the muscles to more stress than they are accustomed to. This increased stress will force the muscles to respond.

Merely pumping up the muscles by using less resistance may feel good but it does little for real muscle tissue growth. In order to get those muscle fibers to thicken up and develop, you have to place more resistance on them as opposed to just pumping them up with more blood.

It’s no coincidence that the biggest bodybuilders in the history of the sport got that way by training with very heavy weights. They may have changed their training philosophy AFTER they built their incredible muscle mass but they never would have gotten that way in the first place by simply pumping up the the muscles with light weights.

 

Mistake #3 – Not Keeping Track of Your Progress – Sometimes the emphasis with a training program is to just “kill it” or train very intense instead of actually making progress. Everyone wants to train hard in order to build more muscle mass. However, the bottom line should always be how effective is the workout?

Taking each set to failure, using drop sets and chasing the pump during a workout may make you believe that you are progressing because the workout was so hard. However, this may not necessarily be the case. Are you getting stronger week after week? Are your muscles getting progressively bigger over time? Does it seem like you are making progress because you are training so hard or are you actually making progress?

The best way to ensure that you are making gains and going in the right direction is to record your workouts and keep track of your progress. By writing down what you are dong week after week, you will be able to see for yourself if you are making gains with your muscle mass and strength.

The muscles will respond to progressive resistance. By consistently overloading the muscles, they will have no choice but to respond to the increased stress by growing and getting larger. You don’t necessarily have to train so hard that your eyeballs are bulging out of your head. As long as the muscles are working consistently working harder, they will get bigger.

 

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If you found this article useful be sure to check out John’s program below:

Get the MP6 Program Today + FR E E BRE + John’s Podcast <<<

 

If you get John’s program through one of the
links in this email, or via the links on my video with John below,
I will get you a complimentary copy of my own
program “Body Re-Engineering” (valued at $39.99).

Furthermore, I will give you a NEVER BEFORE HEARD
Exclusive 60 Minute Podcast of John Hansen where
he shares solid tips on training, nutrition and supplementation!
[Editing interview as we speak so I will send it out
by Monday.]

Just make sure that when you pick up MP6 you forward
your receipt to hugo@hugorivera.net with the title
“SPECIAL MP6 OFFER” and I’ll get it sent over to you asap
(within 24 hours)! I will then send you also the podcast as soon
as I have it ready (Friday).

Note: Offer expires Sunday, Feb 23rd.

 

Get the MP6 Program Today + FR E E BRE + John’s Podcast <<<

 

And before I leave, for those of you who may have missed out on my last video, you can check it out below. Tons of great muscle building information!

Take care and train hard!!!

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