I am now only 12 weeks away from competing in the Natural Mr. Universe contest in Chicago, Illinois on September 1st. I have been dieting for 11 weeks now, slowly bringing my weight and my bodyfat down. I could be ready for the stage in as little as 4-5 weeks but the goal will be to fill out and add in more food after I get as lean as possible.
I’ve been using Power Cycles this year to build up both my muscle mass and strength. I usually alternate these Power Cycles with more high-intensity training that takes each muscle to failure with lighter weights. This break from the heavy weights helps my joints and continues to shock my muscles by using a different training system.
I trained delts and traps on Thursday, June 7th and I was using the HRT (Hell Raiser Training) today. If you’ve been reading my previous posts, you’ll know that the HRT program involves 8 regular reps followed by 4 forced negative reps. I used this program on almost all the deltoid exercises I did today. In some cases, I used drop sets in place of the Hell Raiser Training. Here is how it went.
My training partner Maks and I started off the basic, compound movement. I always include the basic exercises because these are the mass builders and they should always be a part of any hard core training program. For the delts, we always begin with either the Seated Military Press or the Seated Dumbbell Press. Today, it was the Military Press on the agenda.
I warmed up with 95 and 135 pounds before I did my first real set. With the HRT program, I only do two sets for each exercise using the forced negative reps. For my first real set, I used 185 pounds and got the first 8 reps really easy and then pushed through those four forced negatives with my training partner applying pressure for a four second count. He has to pull the weight back up for each rep so I can do those four forced negatives. For my second set, I did 185 pounds again and repeated what I did for the first set although those four forced negatives were much harder on the second set.
Next up was the Standing Side Lateral Raises for the side deltoids. I did two warm up sets before starting my two sets including the forced negatives. I did my first set with the 40 pound dumbbells for 12 reps and then moved onto to the 45′s for 10 reps on my second set. For my first set of the HRT, I used the 40′s and got the first 8 reps easy but I was only able to do 3 forced negatives because the muscles were dead. For my last set, I picked up the 35 pound dumbbells and was able to do the 8 reps followed by 4 forced negatives for this last set.
To finish off my deltoid workout, I did some Bent-Over Lateral Raises for the often neglected rear deltoids. I like turning my hands so my little finger is leading the movement with the elbows slightly bent but the arms rigid throughout the exercise. I started with the 35 pound dumbbells for 12 reps on the first set. For the next two sets, I used the 40 pound dumbbells and did 10 reps. I didn’t use the forced negatives on this exercise because this is a difficult exercise to apply the forced negatives.
We finished off our workout with heavy Barbell Shrugs for the traps. I like doing traps with delts as opposed to back. Exercises like side lateral raises and bent-over lateral raises use the traps in the assistance of the movement so it makes sense to finish off delts with traps. Plus, back exercises are typically very heavy and hard so I want to leave this heavy mass-builder for my shoulder workout instead.
I started off with 225 pounds for an easy 12 reps on the first set. For the second warm-up set, I went up to 315 pounds for 10 reps. For my last two mass-building sets, I went up to 365 pounds for two sets of 8 reps. I didn’t do forced negatives or drop sets on this exercise because the heavy weight is enough to build the traps.
More workouts coming up next week with some updated progress pics!