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E-zine #17: Quest for More Recovery

It\’s hard to hold back on your motivation to avoid overdoing it when you finally get there.

While it’s sometimes hard to be motivated to get to the gym,it can be equally as hard to hold back on your motivation to avoid over doing it when you finally get there. After many variations of the heavy/light routines we’ve written about in ‘Train, Eat, Grow,’ we’d come to a realization: Our light workouts were anything but light. The fact is, some of our light workouts were even harder than our heavy ones. Even without the use of intensity techniques on the light days, we’ve constantly ended up pushing harder and harder during the light workouts, thereby cutting into our essential recovery time. In an attempt to put on some muscle by truly utilizing a beneficial recovery period, it was about time we made a more serious effort to live by our own preachings.

We’ve gone ahead and continued to use the modified postactivation supersets on heavy days, but rather than having a solo light training day, we decided on a better solution. For whatever bodypart was being trained heavy, we’d simply add a light set for the antagonist muscle group. By doing this as part of a superset with the second exercise of the postactivation superset, we’re forcing ourselves into a situation where it would be very hard to push ourselves to the limit on the light bodypart. On paper, it actually looks like you’re getting less recovery time and spending even more time in the gym, but that’s not really the case. The use of supersets speeds up the routine, and by truly using light weights on the appropriate exercises, we aren’t causing enough muscle activity in that bodypart to cause too much damage. We have, however, found that, by doing supersets with the antagonist muscle, you’ll get some serious skin-stretching pumps. If you want to feel big, this is a great routine. Time will tell what kind of muscle gains we’re able to attain, but it seems very promising so far.

The routine sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is, but I’d still suggest’as we always do’that you have theroutine written down to keep things straight, as well as to keep track of your progress. As an example of what this looks like, see this sample of the lat/delt training on our Monday session:

Modified superset for postactivation
Wide-grip pulldowns 2 x 6-8

Stiff-arm pulldowns 2 x 8-10
Arnold presses (light) 2 x 10

Machine pullovers (with stretch burns) 2 x 8-10
Lateral raises or dumbbell upright rows (light) 2 x 10

As you can see, we’re hitting lats as the heavy bodypart on this day, with delts as the light bodypart. On paper, it may look like a bit more than what we usually do, but it’s really not. By doing the delt movement at the end, and as a superset, we’re almost guaranteed to have to use low weight on the last exercise. The light bodypart is also normally set for ten reps. On those 10 reps, we make a point not to go to failure. What we’re doing is using a weight with which we could get about 15 reps if going to failure, but stopping at 10. This way, we have more insurance that we’re not going to over do it on the light exercises.

We’re still utilizing a rest day in the middle of the week, so the routine boils down to upper body workouts on Monday and Thursday, and lower body workouts on Tuesday and Friday. This way we’re able to hit each bodypart twice per week and one of those sessions is truly a light workout this time, so we still manage plenty of recovery time. Admittedly, the upper body workouts are a bit longer than lower body, but after a week or two on the routine, we’ve found that we can get through it substantially quicker. As with our last routine, this one can be very hard to stick with in a busy gym, so there’s an alternate routine listed in the February ’02 issue (on-sale around Jan. 1, 2002) as well as the full routine that we’re using.

To follow the ITRC training program in ‘Train, Eat, Grow,’ get a copy of the latest issue of IRONMAN. For more on POF training go to

This special report was submitted by Jonathan Lawson
From the IRONMAN Training & Research Team

The ITRC Training Newsletter is not intended as training advice for everyone. You must consult your physician before beginning any diet or training program. You may forward this email to as many friends as you want, but do not photocopy or reprint this report in any format without the written permission of the copyright holder.

All Content (c) Copyright 2001 IRONMAN Magazine
All Rights Reserved

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