Hopefully those of you who’ve been following the ‘Train, Eat, Grow’ series allowed yourself enough of a recovery downshift last month. If so, you’re probably ready, along with us, to give another all-out size-building blast before we start to prepare for the summer. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost that time again, but based on the crazy weather here in southern California, it’s definitely getting close.
We’re not panicked though’not much anyway. We’ve still got enough time to continue our mass-building plans until next month, when we’ll start gearing more towards leaning up. Until that time, however, building muscle is still our number one priority.
After that last downshift to be sure that we were fully recovered, we ended up starting a new routine based on postactivation again. Apparently, we seemed to reach a point of stagnation with that protocol, as the gains didn’t seem to come as they had with the previous routines. Just more proof that it’s good to use new methods in your training to avoid plateaus. To provide some change, and to increase our motivation we decided to drop the postactivation and move on to antagonist supersets
Antagonist supersets simply allow you to superset two opposing muscle groups, such as triceps and biceps. This method can be a great time-saver, as well as lead to a pretty good pump. With larger muscle groups, like quads and hamstrings, it could get unbearably tiring, so we’ve opted to utilize the heavy/light method again. That’s when one body part is trained with heavy weight and the other is trained with higher reps and lower weight. Then you just do the opposite at the next session for that particular group of muscles. We also decide it would be good for us to change our grip and stance from one workout to another, just for a bit more variation.
Even though we’re using the heavy/light method, the antagonist supersets can be a bit taxing. We’ve avoided cutting into our recovery ability by using a three day routine, and still taking Wednesdays and weekends off. This gives us plenty of recovery time and allows us to train with full energy stores. Knowing that this is our last-chance routine to for building muscle before we start preparing for summer, we have that added bit of motivation. This split allows us to keep that motivation in check and when you consider the amount of time between heavy workouts for any given bodypart, you can see that recovery shouldn’t be a problem. We’re just hoping it provides the mass boost we’re looking for, but it’s looking like a good plan so far.
Chest and midback are easy to recognize as opposing muscle groups, so I’ll use those as an example of the antagonist superset routine. This sample is the heavy chest, light midback routine:
Bench presses 2-3 x 6-9
Bent-over dumbbell rows 2-3 x 10-12
Barbell or dumbbell incline presses 2 x 7-9
Bent-arm bent-over laterals 2 x 10-12
Flat or incline flyes (two-second contraction
at the top of each rep) 2 x 7-9
Shrugs 2 x 10-12
On this particular day, we also work calves and abs. No, they aren't exactly opposing muscle groups, but this is more of a time-saving method and seems to work pretty well. You can see it’s a fairly low workload as far as the sets and reps go. It does provide a great workout though and it feels really nice to have a good pump in opposing muscle groups. If you like the sound of this sample, we’ve got the full routine listed in the May ’02 issue.
If you’re following along with us, be sure to use this final mass-boosting phase to your advantage. This summer, we’ll lean out and see what this hard-earned muscle looks like.
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 www.ironmanmagazine.com.
This Special Report was submitted by Jonathan Lawson The IRONMAN Training & Research Team www.ironmanmagazine.com
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