May, 2010 | Critical Bench

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Rest-Pause Training

Variety is the spice of life–it’s also what gets our muscles growing again when we hit a plateau. Muscle growth is a reaction of the stress of weightlifting. Muscles grow during the recovery phase in an effort to be “prepared” the next time you lift a heavy weight. The problem is that when our muscles get accustomed to our training routines, our gains first slow to a trickle, then stop entirely.

Mike Westerdal and Matt Kroc

Mike Westerdal and Matt Kroc


That’s why you want to mix up your routine every once in a while–to keep the muscles guessing by introducing something new that will cause a growth reaction. So that brings us to Rest-Pause Training, a great–but brutal–way to really push your muscles to failure and break through the occasional wall.

In everyday bodybuilding workouts you do a movement for 8-12 reps, then rest for about a minute before moving on to the next set. Using this strategy, the amount of weight you’re lifting each time is less than what you’re really capable of lifting, which enables you to do multiple reps. The rest period between sets gives your muscles time to recharge before you start lifting again.

The time spent resting also gives your muscles a chance to flush out the lactic acid. Lactic acid builds up when the muscles are really stressed, causing the burning sensation deep inside muscle tissue. Depending on the weight, speed and number of reps you’re doing, eventually you’ll get to a point of failure where your muscles can’t perform the movement any more.

The point of Rest-Pause Training is to hyper stimulate the muscles to failure, giving them just enough time to “catch their breath” again before you hit them again. Rest-Pause Training takes advantage of the body’s ability to recover quickly from a stressful situation. The body is able to quickly regain some of its strength by flooding the muscle fibers with a substance known as phosphocreatine. This compound provides the energy source the muscle needs to quickly flush out the lactic acid and get back to work. Rest-Pause Training takes advantage of this process and uses it to help you push through the wall and hit the gains you want.

So here’s how it works. I want to warn you though that this routine can be brutal.

The object is to push your muscles to absolute failure and then with as little rest as possible, push them to the limit again. When you do Rest-Pause Training, always be sure to have someone spot you. Start with a weight that is about 90% your one-rep max–the highest amount of weight you can lift for a single rep.

Perform a single rep, rack the weight, rest for 10-15 seconds and then do another rep. Keep doing this until your muscles fail entirely and you can’t do another rep and your muscles feel like spaghetti–that’s why you always want to be sure to have someone spot you when doing this.

If you’re a beginner or just don’t feel that you’re quite up to a full Rest-Pause Training jump just yet, you can do a modified version to build yourself up for the real thing. In this version you won’t use your one-rep max but just a heavier weight than normal–maybe about 75%-80% of your max.

rest-pause-training2
As you perform the movement, rest about one to three seconds between each rep. Keep doing this until your muscles hit failure. This is your first set. Then, rack the weight, rest 10-15 seconds and start over again. When you’ve hit the point where you can’t even do a single rep, you’re finished. As you get more comfortable doing this, increase the weight until you feel you’re ready to make the leap into full Rest-Pause-Training.

Another variation is to start with your one-rep max but rest 15-30 seconds between each rep, shortening the rest time as you progress until you get to the 10-15 second mark.

Because this is so intense and you are working with weights that are much heavier than what you normally lift, be sure that you are sufficiently warmed up before diving in. The purpose of Rest-Pause training is to push yourself to the breaking point. If you’re not properly warmed up and prepared, you could really injure yourself. A good way to make sure you are ready is to make your last set a Rest-Pause set. Besides, after doing Rest-Pause your muscles aren’t going to be in any shape to be doing much more serious lifting so it’s best to use that to your advantage.

You can train any body part using Rest-Pause Training and can do it with just about any movement that you perform. It’s great for arms, legs, back, chest or any area where you feel like you’ve hit a wall or a plateau. But because it’s so intense, don’t use it more than once a week on each muscle group, or for longer than eight weeks. Otherwise, you risk over-training and you don’t want that.

This is just one of several techniques you can use that are outlined in the new Critical Bench Program 2.0 that is set to be released this fall.

Are You Suffering From Andropause?

May 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Life, Recent Posts, Supplements

Andropause

Andropause

We’ve all heard of menopause, right? It’s when a woman goes through the “change of life,” meaning that she’s leaving her reproductive years behind. It’s a transition period where her body produces less hormones, causing all sorts of physical changes. When going through menopause, most women experience emotional changes as well. Mood swings are common. As men, we’ve always stood on the sidelines watching our women go through this change, feeling bad for them of course but secretly thinking, “glad it’s not me!” Not so fast, because there’s a growing body of evidence that shows that women aren’t the only ones to go through a change of life as they get older–it seems that men do too, but instead of menopause, it’s called andropause.

In men though, the change is significantly different in that our reproductive systems don’t totally shut down (whew!). What does happen though is that like women, our bodies produce lower levels of hormones–in our case testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone. Testosterone is of course the principal male hormone. It’s produced in the testes and is the anabolic steroid that makes us men. It’s also a primary driver in making us strong and building muscle mass. Dehydroepiandrosterone is also a steroid, but this one is produced by the adrenal glands. This is actually the most abundant steroid in the body, but it’s effects on the body are somewhat different than testosterone. Dehydroepiandrosterone is also synthesized in the brain so it seems to impact neurological functions as well.

Although as men pass through andropause their reproductive systems don’t totally shut down like they do in women, their bodies can go through significant changes that are driven by the drop in testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone levels. Studies have found that after about age 30, testosterone levels may decline an average of 2% a year in men. Once the drop in hormone levels reaches a certain point, guys start to feel the symptoms of andropause. The first medical study on male andropause was actually conducted in the mid-1940s and published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association.” Interestingly though, it’s only recently that the U.S. medical community has taken notice of this condition.

The effects of andropause include:

decrease in lean muscle mass and less strength;
an increase in overall body fat, particularly around the waist and pectoral areas;
a decrease in bone mass;
decreased sex drive and difficulty in achieving and maintaining an erection;
loss of stamina and drive;
mood swings, irritability and loss of a feeling of “well-being”;
and a decline in cognitive skills and/or loss of memory.

These are some, but not all of the symptoms that men often experience as a result of going through “male menopause.”

For most guys, one of the first outward signs of andropause will be an increase in body fat around the middle and in the pectoral area (man boobs). The other outward sign of the decline in hormone production is going to the loss of lean muscle mass and a reduction in strength. Lower testosterone levels can be directly correlated with decreased synthesis of muscle proteins, which results in less strength and less mass. The third sign of the onset of andropause is reduced sexual functioning and loss of sexual desire. These physical symptoms combined with the emotional ones can make andropause a very difficult time in a man’s life.

zhhhAll is not lost though and you don’t have to resign yourself to going through “the change” and becoming less of a man than what you want to be. First, there are a number of things you can do right now to significantly reduce the potential impact that andropause might have on your life. One of the most important things you can do is exercise regularly and make sure that your training routine includes weight lifting. This is actually one of the most important things you can do to stimulate the body’s natural testosterone factories. A lean, muscular, active body produces far more testosterone than a lazy flabby one.

Also, watch your diet, sticking with whole grains, lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. Through in a small handful in nuts every couple days too. Avoid eating processed foods and stay away from sugar, excessive caffeine and don’t go out boozing it up every night. Be sure to get lots of rest and a good night’s sleep. It’s very important to give your body plenty of time to recover between training sessions. And here’s something else you can do and I know you’ll like this one–have sex, especially in the morning. Having sex stimulates testosterone production but you’ll pump up production even more by having sex in the morning, according to a German study. For some guys, hormone replacement therapy might be the answer. In any case, knowing the facts and being proactive are the best things you can do.

However I wouldn’t recommend that. It’s probably a better idea to try a natural testosterone boosting supplement like Jacked Up by AS Research.

===>> Avoid The Effects of Andropause With Jacked UPClick Here

Looking For Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss Diet?

May 4, 2010 by  
Filed under Nutrition, Recent Posts, Reviews, Training

What is The Xtreme Fat Loss Diet?

Xtreme Fat Loss Diet by Joel Marion

Xtreme Fat Loss Diet by Joel Marion

The Xtreme Fat Loss diet is a 9-component highly strategic diet and training program specifically designed to yield the most rapid fat loss results; 25 days in duration

Revolves around a 5-day diet/training schedule that is repeated 5 times.

Diet includes Cheat Days, Fast Days, Shake Days, Moderate Carbohydrate Days, and Protein-only Depletion Days

Training regimen includes brand new FPFL-esque Lactic Acid, Strength, Dynamic, and Density workouts from John Romaniello.  Eight unique workouts that are used 3 times each over the course
of the 25-day program.

The diet days and workouts are scheduled very strategically to yield a synergistic effect. Here is the schedule:

Day 1 – Cheat Day: Density Training – Each cycle begins with a Cheat Day to boost leptin and fat burning hormones to ensure the body is extremely primed for fat loss over the course of that cycle.  A “bodybuilding” style Density workout is performed on this day to capitalize on the high calorie intake, protecting lean mass during the diet and potentially even allowing for gains in lean body mass over the course of the 25-day program (just ask Vince Del Monte)

Fast Day: Lactic Acid Training – After a Cheat Day, the body is extremely primed to burn fat. On this day, we create a massive caloric deficit through strategic fasting as well as metabolically expensive lactic acid training. Packed out glycogen and intracellular triglyceride stores from the prior day’s Cheat Day easily fuel the workout (along with strategic BCAA supplementation)

Shake Day: Strength Training – The shake day is another low calorie day in which all the day’s nutrition comes via nutrition shakes. The “shake only” nature of the day helps to increase adherence dramatically by keeping the diet focused on one thing.  Strength training is done on this day to maintain strength levels, promote lean body mass maintenance, and to allow recovery from the higher volume workouts performed previously.

Moderate-carb Day: Dynamic Training – This day is a more “typical” diet day consisting of a 40/30/30 macro breakdown and more carbs/calories than other days. This gives the dieter a ‘break’ from the “extreme” nature of the diet right in the middle of each cycle, while fueling the workout of the day, Dynamic training, chosen to strategically promote further fat loss due to it’s metabolic demands.

Protein-only Depletion Day: Lactic Acid Training
– The function of this day is to depletion glycogen and intramuscular energy stores to “make room” for the caloric surplus of the cheat day, minimizing any fat storage concern on this day. It’s also another great fat burning day of the cycle coming after the carbohydrate bump the
day before. Lactic acid training is strategically performed because of its depletion and fat loss effects.

To learn more about how you can lose up to 25 pounds of fat in 25-days visit this link:

http://tinyurl.com/y2enhkz