Thursday, January 26, 2012


....are you a freak?  Well are ya?  Having been a gym rat for most of my adult life as well a certified trainer for a good number of years as well, I tend to get asked a lot of questions.  They come from all places, friend, family, co-workers, random strangers, people I meet at events I attend and one of my personal favorites, is 'how do I build muscle'?

Well now...I could go into a long diatribe about different body types, and different schools of thought, and diet, and training time and on an on and on.  BUT I always answer with two simple phrases.

CONTROL the weight and FULL range of motion.

Let me elaborate a bit.  Control is simple, you can work slow, or you can work fast, both are valid and both build differently, so I always suggest a combination of the two depending on end goals and what exactly you're training for.  A competitive athlete is going to get a much different program from me than someone who wants to lose the baby fat after a child birth, but both will have variations on the speed at which they complete the exercises as well at the individual reps.  But ONE thing has to be maintained at ALL time.  CONTROL.  I have a simple rule which goes back to my days of training with John Taylor, Mr. Pacific Coast '94 (he also won Oregon and some other titles, but that's the one I remember)...and it was this:

If you cannot stop the weight withing 1 inch of me saying stop then it's all momentum.

So if I say stop or you say stop, you have 1 inch to do matter how fast you are moving.

Now Range of motion is an often discussed topic among trainers, and there's two distinct definitions to it.

1. The range you can maintain tension on a muscle.
2. The complete motion of a joint.

So what's the difference?  The range you can maintain tension is simply that, your limbs are comprised of multiple muscles and once you pass the point of tension for one muscle another one comes under tension, so you lose that tension and ultimately take away from the work of that muscle.  The complete motion of a joint is pretty self explanatory, if you want to feel the difference, stand up, put your hand on your quad and squat to the floor, touching your heels to your butt.  At roughly 92 degrees you'll feel your quads slack or lose tension, and your glutes and hammies kick in.

So what's the big deal here?  Well the biggest issue with RoM that I see continuously is lack of.  People cutting themselves short...literally.  You do not engage the entire muscle by doing 1/4, 1/2 or 3/4 of the movement.  A shoulder press starts with your hands as close to if not touching your shoulders and ends with your arms as straight as possible without locking your elbows.  Anything less is cheating unless you are SCULPTING for a competition.

Tonight was arm night, and one of the guys I met at the gym, Lauren cracked a comment at me tonight.  "Duud, you're taking to long of a break to get your 5000 reps in!!!"  It was arm night after the rep count goes UP!!!

390 reps - 28 minutes
Seated dumbell tricep press ups - 65 x 30, 80 x 25 (started to feel the shoulder give so I cut it short)
Standing cable curls double pulley station - rope 50 x 30, 70 x 30
Cable push down single pulley station - 70 x 30, 80 x 30
Incline seated arm curls - 17.5 x 30, 20 x 30
Reverse cable push down - double pulley station - 50 x 30 (too light so I hit 3 sets) 70 x 30, 90 x 30
Wide grip cable curls - V bar - double pulley station - 60 x 30, 70 x 30

It hurt...alot.


Do you have CONTROL???