How To Build Muscle Mass And Strength 4
The dieting is done, the contest pics have been taken and Ed has taken a nice break from his training. Ed told me he had scarfed down lots of junk food including the KFC double down as shown below:
. Lee Priest, 2007 Night Of Champions
So now the question is – WHAT STYLE OF OFF SEASON TRAINING DOES ED DO?
Here are some parameters that Ed follows when planning his mass building, off season training:
- Brief but intense bodybuilding sessions.
- Heavy training while controlling the negative.
- 6-8 weeks in length, followed by a short break.
- Organized and systematic – you don’t use “guess work” if you’re training for size.
- Something fun yet challenging.
- A proven strategy that’s guaranteed to get you results.
It has been used all around the world with GREAT success. It’s not mainstream, it’s underground but the results are astounding if you follow the basic principles correctly. Go ahead, ask around your gym. See how many have heard of DC Training. Maybe one or two but of those one or two, they’re probably not sure what this type of training entails.
And unless they’re following a progressive style of training, keeping records and adding weight to the bar, 95% of people in gyms across this country aren’t gaining muscle and are wasting their time.
My friend and DC Expert practitioner, Jason Wojo tells me that the majority of people out there are doing it wrong.
This is important because if you’re going to follow a proven system, you need to make sure that you’re following it correctly.
Watch this highlight video of Ed showing you how he approaches the chest/shoulder part of his workout using the DC Training method? After watching the quick video, if you decide you want to see the rest, enter your email on this page (top right or below) and we’ll send it right to you.
If you ever find yourself growing stale with your current routine, you’ll love this tip.
Sometimes a change in the weather can trigger it, a transition from on season to off season or the need to switch up everything. If you find yourself finding excuses to keep from going to the gym, here’s a great tip from Ed Brown, Jr. to change things up.
This is a small change but one that can make a great big difference in you bench press strength. With floor presses you’re able to work on the top half of the exercise. A lot of bodybuilders and powerlifters get “stuck” at a certain point of the bench press. Performing floor presses allows you to just focus on strengthening any sticking points that you may have.
Once you’ve warmed up properly, use 50% of your 1 rep max
- Do 2 sets of 15 reps with a wide grip
- Do 2 sets of 15 reps with a medium grip
- Do 2 sets of 15 reps with a close grip
If you are a beginner or intermediate level bodybuilder, perform floor presses in the manner below:
6 sets of 6 reps
- 2 sets wide
- 2 sets medium
- 2 sets close grip
Be sure to use good form and don’t go too heavy. Have a spotter handy.
Floor presses will really work your triceps and will take the stress off of your shoulders since you’re not going as deep on the negative as you normally would with regular bench presses. If you’re looking for extra stimulation, be sure to squeeze your pecs at the top of the movement.
In the video below, Ed talks about the need to improve one’s muscle endurance. Ed’s philosophy is that if you can bench press a certain weight for 10 sets of 10, then you’ll have no trouble increasing your 1 RM. Ed recently used this exact method to improve his top bench press to 475lbs (raw).
He benched 10 sets of 10 reps (German Volume Training) with 315lbs.
That takes a lot of endurance and will definitely result in a bigger bench.
You’ve probably heard of super sets, where you do two exercise consecutively without resting in between. Have you ever tried doing three different exercises? This works extremely well with chest exercises. The advantages of doing tri-sets for chest is that they allow you to stimulate the muscles from 3 different angles. An example of 3 different exercises would be:
- Barbell Bench Press
- Bar Dips
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes
Notice in this sequence of exercises that you have to change your grip with each set of the tri-set. This is a great way to create an crushing chest workout that will initiate more muscle growth as long as enough intensity is used. One key of getting the most out of these tri-sets is to alter the grip on each exercise. For barbell bench press, you can use a “palm grip”, for bar dips you can use a “true grip” but without squeezing the bars too much, for flyes you can use a true grip and squeeze the dumbbell handles HARD! Try this technique over 2 weeks and see if you get a new level of stimulation and soreness in any bodypart that you choose.
MIX UP YOUR SPLIT
Maybe it’s time to change up your routine split. If you’ve been doing the same routine – chest, arms, back, legs, shoulders for months on end then switch it up. Arnold use to like training Chest and Back on the same day for the pump effect. So do Chest/Back, Biceps/Triceps, Quads/Hamstrings, and Shoulders all on different days.
Stick with your new routine for at least 3-4 weeks so you can get a good idea of its effectiveness.
All of the above are some simple ideas for you to try with your bodybuilding routine. The point is not to get stale. Check out the video below of Ed Brown Jr explaining one way to switch things up! Be sure to subscribe to the youtube channel for much more!
Bench pressing will always be a dominant exercise.
Walk into any gym and you’ll see and hear bodybuilders, powerlifters and weekend warriors horizontal on the bench grunting and groaning for that extra rep. Sure, a big bench will build a big chest. A big bench will also wreck your shoulders and cause tears if not done correctly.
I’ve been in the gym when that horrible popping sound occurs and stops everyone in the gym immediately. A pec tear. My former training partner, Mike Scarcella was benching 5 plates on just another chest day when it happened. Luckily there was a medical doctor in the gym working out who was able to apply immediate care (ice) until Mike could get to the emergency room.
Below is a specific routine that you can begin using immediately to safely increase your bench press in a month or two. Some of the tips below may enable you to immediately increase your bench press with just a slight adjustment to your form. Check it out!
TRAIN FLAT BENCH PRESS TWICE A WEEK
- Flat bench dumbbell press. 3 warm up sets using a progressively heavier weight followed by 3 sets of 6-8 reps. Use the same weight on all 3 working sets that allow you to get 6-8 reps. If you can’t get the reps, the weight is too heavy. If you get more than 6-8 reps, increase the weight.
- Close grip bench press. 2 x 8 reps. You’re building triceps strength with this one so you want to feel the triceps doing most of the work. Use a close grip so that your thumbs are right against your outer pecs. Start with 60% of your maximum bench press weight and shoot for 8 reps. So if you bench press 300, use 180lbs for 2 sets of 8. You’ll quickly learn the form and will begin to add weight fast on this exercise.
- Bench Shrug x 2 sets. Start with the same weight as a regular 10 rep bench press set and build up over several weeks and reduce the reps to 6 over time (while increasing the weight). The bench shrug is performed by raising and lowering the weight WITHOUT bending the arms. The idea is to focus on scapula rotation while contracting the pecs. This strengthens the shoulder girdle and develops the “shoulder roll” used by most great benchers. Lower the bar with straight arms, by pulling the shoulders down and in toward the bench and crunching the scapula together. Use a spotter or safety bars as the balance can be a little unusual at first.
- Load the bar with 90% of the weight that you can do for 10 reps. So if you can bench 225lbs for 10 reps, use 90% of that or 202.5lbs. Set your grip one finger WIDER than normal. A half inch or so. Bench press this weight (202.5lbs) for 8-10 reps over the next few weeks until you can progress to 225lbs and get 10 reps using this wider grip. Once you can do reps of 10 with 225lbs, move your hands (grip) out again. Another half inch or so. Ultimately, you’re trying to have your chest, shoulders and triceps share the load equally. Touch the bar at the highest point on your chest and make sure that your elbows are angled in towards your ribcage. Most of us flare our elbows OUT but we want to become stronger benchers so we’re going to keep the elbows tucked in for better leverage. Every time you move your grip out wider, do 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps. Stay with each new grip for a couple of weeks or more until you find the best grip. I wouldn’t do more than 3 new grips as you don’t want to take your triceps out of the exercise completely.
- Incline bench DB press x 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps (alternate with weighted bar dips with elbows 45 degrees out from the chest.
On either day 1 or day 2, lower the bar slowly during the barbell bench press, pause for 3 seconds and explode it up. You want to get into the habit of using this driving, explosive style so that on your max attempt day,you can shoot up a bigger bench press.
Questions? Let me know.
For more great ways to get stronger, check out “Powerlifting Basics, Texas-Style” by Paul Kelso
If I could go back in time and give my 15 year old self some sage advice, it would be:
1) Get a proper haircut
2) Stop masturbating into a sock
3) Buy shares in Apple
4) Start Squatting NOW
Like most of us, my adolescent years in the gym were exclusively spent curling, bench pressing, and pouting in the mirror.
Ultimately, if I couldn’t see the muscle in my bedroom mirror while flexing, it didn’t exist.
Heck, the only person that squatted in my old gym was a fat, furry Lithuanian gentleman who would scream and curse his way through each monstrous rep.
At the time, I reasonably assumed he had:
a) murdered someone,
b) committed a sex crime, or
c) both (maybe even at the same time).
Like a hippo marking his territory with urine, the squat rack was his domain, and besides, I didn’t want to get involved with this dirty, sweaty exercise.
Working out legs was a waste of time, I thought…
What a fool I was!
The Key To A Structurally Sound Physique
Truth is, if you want to build a physique that is muscular and well proportioned, in addition to being super strong, squatting is a must.
Like the mighty deadlift, squatting is a BEAST of a compound, mass building exercise.
It mercilessly works your quads, hamstrings, glutes and core while additionally attacking other stabilising muscles as well.
The problem is squatting is a tough exercise to master and too few people are squatting right – if at all!
So here are five tips which you can implement immediately to improve your form and technique and get that KILLER squat:
1) Arch your Lower Back
Maintaining an arched lower back is essential to good form.
Most injuries from squatting occur from an unnatural ‘rounding’ of the back during the concentric upward phase of the lift.
This puts a huge strain on the lumbar region and NOT the legs. Not good guys.
Top tip: Plump your chest out while squatting to achieve a natural arch.
2) Head Position
Your head should be looking forward – slightly above parallel.
Do not crane your neck upwards or look down at the floor, as this will make your squatting movement unstable and place severe stress on your neck.
Top tip: Pick a spot on the wall just above eye level and concentrate on it during the set.
3) Push from the heels
Over the years, I’ve seen countless people squatting from the front of their feet.
Drive from the heels, goddammit!
This provides a solid, stable platform for your body which allows you to FULLY engage your leg muscles.
Top tip: Perform a set of squats without the bar to perfect the technique of pushing from your heels.
4) Knees Out
While squatting it is essential to keep your knees pointing slightly outwards.
To achieve this, ensure that your feet are pointing outwards (about 20 degrees).
In addition to aligning your body in a more natural stance to perform the movement, this positioning will also help you generate more power in the lift.
Top tip: Develop strength in your thigh abductor muscles to prevent your knees collapsing while squatting.
This last tip can be applied to all weight training exercises you perform.
Too few people warm up and stretch properly before chucking weight around the gym.
In addition to minimising risk of injury, enhanced flexibility – especially in your quads, ankles and hips – will help you craft a super fluid squat with an improved range of motion.
Top tip: During your warm-up for leg day, hold a deep squat as a stretch for two minutes. This well help your muscles and ligaments to loosen up nicely.
So, there we have it guys. You can now go out into the world as fully fledged squatters!
When employing these 5 killer tips, make sure that your from is perfect for every set and every rep you perform from now on.
Remember: perfect practice makes perfect.
Embrace the iron and good luck guys.
If you have any further thoughts or questions, or want to let me know how you get on with these tips, hit me up in the comments section below.
I look forward to hearing from you!
About the author
Henry is an ex-national swimmer and marathon runner with a passion for the iron. When not squatting or power eating you can find him blogging over at GymTalk.
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