Lee Priest Bodybuilding 28
Lee was hospitalized for a shoulder infection in 2007…
Lee doing a TV appearance at age 17…
Lee Priest pumping up backstage in 2007…
Five times a week, two hours each visit.
You’ve been more faithful to your gym schedule than you’ve ever been to any girlfriend you’ve had. And for a while it paid off: those muscles started growing and the girls started paying attention.
But then, like a bad dream your body stopped responding. Your muscles suddenly weren’t growing like they used to. You’ve lost the excitement to train and spend your time watching the latest Mike Chang YouTube video in the hopes that you can pick up something new. Some tip that will help you start growing again. You start training longer and harder but instead of getting stronger, you’re getting weaker.
Time to up the dosage.
The Gym Plateau. It hits all of us at one time or another. A lot of fitness and bodybuilding beginners don’t even know that they’ve been hit by it. They wrongly assume that they’ve reached their genetic potential when in fact, adding some intermediate to advanced “shock” techniques may be all that’s needed. Below are some tips and a demonstration video of one of the bodybuilding tips by Lee Priest’s former training partner, Ed Brown, Jr.
If you take a few days off from the gym, plan a new strategy for the next 4-6 weeks and implement one or two of the tips belwo, I guarantee you that your body will start responding to your training again.
- Bodybuilding Tip #1 – Take A Break
This tip sounds easy on the surface but can be difficult to follow if you’re trying to peak for Summer or some important event in your life. Do it anyway. Do not step into the gym or do any workout for at least a week. Let your body and mind recover. Some will need longer, others less. You’ll know you’re ready when you start picking up and carrying your gym bag around the house for no reason.
- Bodybuilding Tip #2 – Training Too Often
Are you training too often? If you’re using enough intensity then you only need to train each muscle group once a week. Every time you train, you damage your muscles. Muscles need time to repair and if you’re training too often, you’ll never give your body a chance to repair itself. This means that if you lift weights every day and are using enough intensity, there isn’t sufficient time for the body to recover. Try to have one day rest between each 2-3 days of weight lifting. Reduce your gym time to 90 minutes or less. Cortisol levels elevate once you’ve sufficiently trained your body. It’s time to get out of the gym, eat, rest and get yourself back into a positive nitrogen balance.
Muscles do not grow in the gym; they grow when you sleep. When you sleep, you are secreting growth hormone for many bodily functions and one of those functions is to repair damaged muscle fibers. That’s why they call it beauty sleep – even for beasts!
- Bodybuilding Tip #3 – Correct Technique
Are you using good form? Lee Priest is known for using amazing form in the gym and it’s one of the reasons that he’s had such a long career. No torn muscles, no major injuries.
If your form is incorrect, not only is your training suffering, you are also inviting injury. I remember going into the gym when I first started and completely skipping the warmups – going directly to 315lb squats and 275lb bench presses. Thankfully, I met some great workout partners who helped me change my destructive ways. When you exercise you must focus, paying attention to how you perform each exercise and each rep. Lift, pause and squeeze the muscles you are working. Mind and muscle must connect! Never never use momentum or swing the weight (unless you’re intentionally using the cheating priniciple for a set or two at the end of the workout). Fight gravity as it pulls the weight down during the eccentric portion of the lift. Try lifting slowly over a three count and lowering slowly feeling the tension in your muscles and resisting the weight at all times.
In order for muscles to grow, you have to stress them to the maximum and then further. Do enough repetitions until you feel you cannot go any further using good form. You must then either increase the weight or the number of repetitions at the next session. This is called progressive overload, and progressive overload is what forces your muscles to grow. As a general guide, if you can lift more than 12 reps the weight is probably too light and it is too heavy if you’re getting less than 5 reps.
- Bodybuilding Tip #4 – Are you using free weights?
Most machines do not involve as much of the synergistic muscles (supporting muscles) as free weights do. And, therefore, do not build as much muscle mass. Synergistic muscles are the smaller muscles that aid the main muscles in balance and strength in each lift. Machines have their advantages but for smashing plateaus, use free weights.
- Bodybuilding Tip #5 -Try strip sets
In another article we talked about Compound Sets in this article, the focus is Strip Sets. You’ve probably heard of these and have stripped the weight down on common exercises such as bench presses, leg presses, dumbbell exercises and others but how about doing strip sets for Stiff Legged Deadlifts? In the video below, we have Ed Brown, Jr and his workout partner Ivan Meraz demonstrating strip sets. This is an intense technique and one in which you will probably want a training partner or 2 to help you with – unless you’re using a dumbbell exercise. There is massive utilization of your muscles with strip sets and they tax your nervous system unlike anything. Use them sparingly and at the end of your workout. This brutal technique will make you pant, huff and sweat more. This means your routine also has a cardio effect and you will burn calories even after you’ve staggered out of the gym .
A hamstring routine may go like this;
Lying Leg Curls x 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps
Stiff Legged Deadlifts x 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps
Stiff Legged Deadlifts x 1-2 Strip Sets. Do 10 reps ,strip the weight, do 8 reps, strip the weight, do 8 reps strip the weight, do 30 reps. Done.
30 reps?! Watch the video below.
The human body is fantastic at adaptation. So whatever routine you are on, your body will get used to it. Change your routine every 6-8 weeks. For example, instead of working your chest at the start of your workout, work your back instead. You can reverse your whole routine or change the variations of your exercises or add new ones and take away some old ones. By changing your routine and following some of the tips above, you not only shock your muscles to new growth, you will stay motivated to kick ass every time that you walk into the gym.
There are certain techniques in bodybuilding that are only used by a small fraction. Compound sets are one of those techniques. You probably won’t see compound sets used by strongmen, crossfitters, bootcampers, yoga practitioners or any of those so called “xtreme” sports “athletes”.
You have to want results badly to do these. AND if you are doing compound sets with heavy weight, you have to be a little bit crazy. But that’s the premise behind this website. We are a little bit crazy. This is our reality. We do this type of training because we want results. We don’t give a shit whether the camera is rolling or not. We’re not posting this shit on instagram or google plus to impress anyone.
We just want results. And we’ll fight for them. And we’ll try anything to grow. Bring the lactic acid, bring the soreness. We don’t need a nerd in a white lab coat to tell us what works or doesn’t work. We tell the nerd what works.
In this instance, I just so happened to have my video camera at Metroflex Gym in Austin, Texas. Ed Brown, Jr and Ivan Meraz were training legs. They were using compound sets.
Compound sets are very similar to supersets, except you work the same muscle group. Pulldowns and cable rows could comprise your compound set, or a shoulder press and shoulder raise. Again, little to no rest in between sets; the goal is to move from one exercise to the next as quickly as good form allows. Like supersets, compound sets are a tremendous time saver. Because you are focusing on the same muscles during each exercise, you will not be able to use quite as much weight as a standard set. But compound sets give you the advantage of working your muscles from a variety of angles, a key factor in avoiding the dreaded “plateau.”
After you do your main mass building exercise like squats, hack squats, front squats, etc; you throw in a couple of compound sets. Ed and Ivan did:
- Leg Press for 10 reps with around 1000lbs. Bring your legs down until you feel your lower back starting to rotate upwards. That’s far enough. Guys have broken ribs by trying to go down too far. 1000lbs is a lot of weight for 10 reps.
- Leg Extensions for 3 drop sets. Start with your heaviest weight and do 10 reps. Drop the weight by 10% or so and do more reps. Drop the weight again and knock out 20 reps with a slow negative rep on the last set. If you have anything left, try and throw up some partial reps. Speaking of “throw up”…you just might. Especially after the second compound set. Rest 90 seconds in between compound sets.
You don’t need anymore than 2 compound sets. If you can do more than 2, then you didn’t use enough intensity or enough weight or both.
In the video below, you’ll see compound sets, drop sets and negatives in action. All 3 of these techniques can help you break through any lapses in muscle growth that you may be experiencing. Use them conservatively at first. Try one of the 3 techniques in the beginning and then in time, you can add in a second technique. Both Ed and Ivan have 30 years of experience between the two of them. They’ve earned the right.
Bodybuilding is about experimenting, intensity, and pushing yourself beyond your current limits both physically and mentally. If you can’t push yourself, you’ll never reach your maximum potential. You can see the intensity in the video clip below. This is bodybuilding at it’s purest. It doesn’t come from a blog post, a magazine with fake photoshoots or some keyboard warrior on a forum or on social media. It happens in the gym.
This is the reality of bodybuilding.
Ivan Meraz is a personal trainer and competition coach in the Austin, Texas area. He is a national level competitor and has been bodybuilding for 13 years. Originally from Mexico, he moved to Texas as a boy. He was a skater as a young boy and a soccer player. He can be reached at Ivan.firstname.lastname@example.org or via his website at www.hardbodiesworldgym.com
Ed Brown, Jr is a master impersonator.
P.S. Check out the limited time opportunity for Lee Priests fans to unite and let their voice be heard! Bring Lee back to the IFBB and 212 class. Details at http://teespring.com/leepriest212
If you’re serious about making solid gains as a bodybuilder, you should be very careful of who you take advice from. Bodybuilding and fitness is literally a multi-billion dollar industry with new websites popping up every single day. Many of the so-called “experts” out there are hiding behind a keyboard and really don’t have a clue of what they’re talking about. In some instances they are only motivated by pushing expensive pills, powders and “miracle programs” on you that you don’t really need. If you’re not careful, you may end up falling for some fatal bodybuilding pitfalls that can literally destroy your gains and prevent you from ever achieving the impressive, muscular physique that you desire. In this article I’m going to expose 4 very common bodybuilding myths in order to keep you on the right path to the mind-blowing muscle and strength gains that you deserve. Be sure to read to the end of the article so you can check out a little used technique that can result in explosive growth.
Myth #1: In order to build muscle, you must achieve a “pump” during your workout. The greater the pump you achieve, the more muscle you will build.
For those of you who are just starting out, a “pump” is the feeling that you get as blood becomes trapped inside the muscle tissue when you train with weights. The muscles will swell up and leave your body feeling bigger, tighter, stronger and more powerful. While a pump does feel awesome, it has very little, if anything to do with properly stimulating your muscles to grow. A pump is simply the result of increased bloodflow to the muscle tissue and is certainly not indicative of a successful workout. A successful workout should only be gauged by the concept of progression. If you were able to lift more weight or perform more reps than you did in the previous week, then you did your job.
Myth #2: Building muscle will cause you to become slower and less flexible.
This one goes back to the old days when people described bodybuilders as being “muscle bound” and “bulky”. Contrary to what you may think, building a significant amount of lean muscle mass can actually help you become faster rather than slow you down. Muscles are responsible for every movement that your body makes, from running to jumping to throwing. The bottom line is that the stronger a muscle is, the more force it can apply. Having stronger, more muscular legs means increased foot speed, just as having stronger and more muscular shoulders means the ability to throw farther. Strong muscles are able muscles, not the other way around.
Myth #3: You must always use perfect, textbook form on all exercises.
While using good form in the gym is always important, obsessing over perfect form is an entirely different matter. If you are always attempting to perform every exercise using flawless, textbook form, you can decrease the total amount of muscle stimulation you might achieve. Remember, we are not robots! It’s very important that you always move naturally when you exercise. Every once in a while it’s OK to add a slight sway in your back when you perform “cheating” bicep curls, or use a tiny bit of body momentum when doing barbell rows. Loosen yourself up a bit and move the way your body was meant to be moved. Obsessing over perfect form can actually work against you rather than for you.
Myth #4: If you want your muscles to grow you must “feel the burn!”
This is another huge misconception in the gym. The “burning” sensation that results from intense weight training is simply the result of lactic acid (a metabolic waste product) that is secreted inside the muscle tissue as you exercise. Increased levels of lactic acid have nothing to do with muscle growth and may actually slow down your gains rather than speed them up. You can limit lactic acid production by training in a lower rep range of 5-7, rather than the traditional range of 10 and above.
In the video below, Ed Brown, Jr demonstrates “Cheat Curls” for building bigger arms. Ed was Lee Priest’s training partner in 2007 and of course, Lee knows a thing or two about building arms. Lee once curled 300 pounds when he was training at World Gym in the 90’s. When you throw that much weight up, your arms have no choice but to respond with new growth. Remember, it’s always better to take advice from those who are actually doing it and not just writing about it.
P.S. Thanks to Metroflex Gym in Austin! Check out their website at http://metroflexaustin.com/
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