Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My First Workout Program that Really Worked

I was a freshman in college. I had done some weight training in high school, but I wasn't very informed on what I was doing. I did, however, see some small gains from my very flawed program. I think I did something like a full body workout every other day. However, not long after, I hit my first plateau. Naturally, I thought that if some working out was good, then more would be better. Soon I was doing a three hour workout every other day. I performed just about every exercise I knew. Not surprisingly, I didn't make any progress and probably got a little weaker from being so overtrained. Fortunately, I played a club sport, and one of the athletes on the team was a graduate student that had played division I football. Lucky for me, he was willing to help me with my workout program. He made two major changes:

  • Drastically reduce the amount of volume. Good-bye three hour workouts—I was in the gym an hour at most

  • Perform compound exercises with forced reps. That means that after I went to failure and could not physically lift the weight one more time, I'd have a spotter help me with a few more repetitions.

Compared to what I was used to, the results were amazing. First of all, despite the fact that I had previously been doing long workouts, I was never terribly sore the next day. After my first workout on the new program, that changed in a hurry—putting my mind at ease because I was worried that I was not doing enough volume to get good hypertrophy. More importantly, I made fantastic gains and was very pleased with the results.

So what can you do to learn from my mistakes?

  • Don't spend all day in the gym. If you are there more than an hour, you are probably being counter productive, as your testosterone levels may start to dip.

  • Get the most out of your sets. If you've been lifting for a few months and your just starting to hit your first plateau, try forced reps to see if you can create a little more hypertrophy.


Steven said...

Hey! I've been looking for a good workout blog. There's not alot of good ones out there. I agree that overtraining can really set you back. I'm of the ectomorphic body type, so I've got to cram alot in as little time as possible. Most workouts, I try to keep to 60 min.

gilda said...

hmm. i didn't know that!! i've put on SO much weight when i was living in japan, but i came back home now and i've been going to play hockey just like i used to, and have been going to the gym a little. i'll keep those tips in mind. :)

J said...

I'm an ectomorph too. You need to make sure you're getting enough protein and calories to build some muscle. Aim for 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight. I need to write a post on nutrition.

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