Sunday, March 27, 2011

More on my mass gaining phase...part II

My split for this mass gaining phase is going to be a bit different than the two that have been my staple for the past 6 years or so.

Usually I run either the 4 way or 3 way split that I outlined in my programs.  However this time around I will use a slightly different approach, but not a whole lot.

Shoulders and Traps - I haven't done a lot of direct shoulder work over the past few years.  I will be honest, I am a natural overhead presser and overhead pressing has always been easy for me.  A lot of guys love to do what they are really good at, but I've never been that guy.  I tend to get fixated on doing shit I'm not naturally good at, and get bored with things I am good at.  But I still want to get a 315+ strict standing overhead press.  I personally am more impressed by standing strict presses than other forms of putting a barbell over your head, like a split jerk or something.

So anyway, I am going to have a shoulder and trap day so I can really focus on some direct shoulder work for a while.  This will fall alongside my mantra of training movement patterns and not bodyparts for the most part however.  I will probably be doing two forms of overhead pressing like a clean and press, then a seated db press or a 1 arm standing db press.  For traps I will probably do a lot of heavy shrugs and then deviate from the movement pattern thing with some upright rows.  If I my elbow is tender I will switch to 1 press instead of two, and probably do some machines.

Arm day - I also plan on incorporating an arm day.  This is not really because I want bigger arms, but more for getting into the gym to do something, and then follow that up with conditioning.  Basically, an easy/fun day but also something that will burn some more calories and allow me to eat more without gaining extra fat.  What I am striving for with this, is to make my body a furnace.  I want to to burning through as many calories a week as possible.  That way, fat gain is kept to a minimum.  So even if I spill over on the calories a little bit, the fat gain should be minimized.

Squat and Deadlift day - This is the usual par for course.  However, what will probably happen is, that I will squat and block pull one week, then deadlift and front squat the next week.  This isn't unusual for me to do anyway.  I just haven't done this in a little while.

Chest and Back day - This used to be a staple of mine for years.  In fact I never deviated from it for a long time.  Incline press will be my staple for pressing, and as noted, I will probably not be flat barbell pressing during this time.  For back some good ol t-bar and barbell rows with heavy chins as usual.

So as you can see, from a movement pattern standpoint, all the same things are still in place.  Squats, deads, rows, presses, chins, etc.  The split will be slightly different.  Part of that is a mental break.  I have been doing the same two splits for about 6 years and I would like to concentrate on a few areas I haven't been paying a lot of attention to.

Since I will be lifting 4X a week this time, I will follow up at least three of the sessions with some hard conditioning.  Again, then some steady state on off days.  My mass phases now are not built around putting on as much overall as possible.  In my programs I talked about this for advanced guys.  Once a solid base is built, it's better to keep the bodyfat in check (10-15% range) and add quality over quantity.  5 pounds of lean mass means about a 14 pound gain or so for me.  Taking off 5 pounds of fat at that point won't be that difficult.  And because it's only 5 pounds, my chances of retaining all of that muscle are high because I won't have to lower cals very long.

It seems like a lot of work for 5 pounds.  And that's even if I can gain 5, however I refuse to ever get fat and out of shape again as it is flat out NOT worth it.  For anyone who tells you that you can't be in shape and be strong then they have neglected the entire strongman community, where this is a must.

This week I will still be cruising on training, and I will up my vegetable consumption greatly to aid in the final bit of fat loss.    

As I noted before, I am going to keep activity levels high throughout the week.  This way I can consume enough calories to grow without gaining too much extra fat.  These aren't the kinds of plans you can put in place for long extended phases.  But running it 6-8 weeks will work fine.  When I need a week off, I will lower cals by replacing all my starches with high amounts of veggies and do some light steady state work a few times a week.

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