How the hell do you change the image that appears above? I look like I’m going to explode!
I think it’s great to build muscle. Hell, I gained 32 pounds in 8 months and I was ecstatic, but I didn’t just focus on putting on the pounds, and in a way I think that helped me big time.
Using different training methods like plyometrics and Olympic lifts in order to increase my power helped me perform better in bodybuilding exercises like squats or deadlifts. It also allowed me to build muscle in a way that was functional. I wasn’t going after the hulking bodybuilder physique that’s only good for looking like a monster and not really being able to use that body for any purpose or sport. Yes, I wanted muscle, but I also wanted to become a better fighter and a better all around athlete at the same time (not to mention confidence, but I’ll get into that another time). And I accomplished that, so believe me it’s possible, you just have to train a bit differently than what everyone else out there’s telling you to do.
Take a look at the video above. I start of with stair jumps – I’d use boxes if my gym didn’t take them out – then went on to lifting. The front squat I did was using a full range of motion and going to a rep count that was considered a “hypertrophy” (or muscle building) rep count of 8-12. Then, I did squats that weren’t at a full range of motion. Instead I focused on quick, powerful reps but upped the rep count to the 20’s to get some muscular endurance training in there as well.
I had a power set – the “box” jumps – a hypertrophy set – the front squat – and a muscular endurance set – the squat. I walked out of the gym with my legs feeling like they were on fire. In doing this kind of training I’ve gained size, speed, endurance and power. You can have it all, you just have to get a bit creative with your training.
For example if you’re doing a chest or upper body pushes day add in an explosive exercise like clap push-ups, medicine ball push-ups, or a standing press where you activate your legs as well as your shoulders for extra power. Superset the push-ups with bodybuilding exercise like bench press or flys and keep the reps to around 8-12 using a pretty heavy weight. Once the push-ups begin to get a bit too easy, either add in another pushes exercise to make it a giant set or buy a weighted vest to increase the resistance.
Some guys live by bodybuilding or power lifting and think there’s no other way to train. Others train for a sport but don’t add the muscle that they want (like I used to do). But some of us want both the muscle and the performance and you can get it all with hard work and smart training.
Give that quick little legs workout a shot and let me know what you think.
What do you want from your workouts, is it just muscle you’re after, or more speed, power, and improved health?