Monday, November 24, 2008

Road to 405...or maybe 315 instead. No wait, make it 405!

Back the days when I was a young stallion back in my undergrad, it was nothing to go into the gym and squat 315 lbs for 8, 10, or even 12 reps good, deep reps!  But now, working hard in grad school (sometimes), married, living out on my own (sort of), it's much harder to find the time to get back in to shape and stay there for a long enough period of time.

Luckily, I do have one thing on my side...


Muscle memory is a fantastic thing.  As long as you have put in enough blood and guts at one point in the gym, you should have no problem getting back to where you once were.

Luckily, I am still a fairly young buck and this getting back to my so called "peak" should be no problem. So this time I am going to do it smart, and that requires about 4 things:

1) An Efficient Training Plan coupled with well placed intensity

2) Good Eats

3) Loads of Recovery

4) Staying Healthy

Number 4 is the most important and has been quite the thorn in my side for some from a lingual hernia surgery, dislocated shoulders and an inflamed (or elbow hampering me for the last several years. 

There is a fine balance between finding max strength while trying to avoid injury (at all costs)

So how do you do it?

At this point in my life there is no more room to get hurt, because it is those extended training periods that leads to those long term gains.

So how do I train hard, heavy and make gains without the inevitable injury?

There are a few tricks that I have adapted to my routine that seem to do the trick:

1) Warm-up thoroughly with mild stretching

2) Do several exercises before the heavy hitters (Squats, Deadlifts, Bench Press):

    • Leg Extensions, hamstring curls, leg presses and/or lunges before squats
    • Do deadlifts as one of your last exercises on back day
    • Do some incline dumbbell presses before heavy flat bench press

You'll still get a lot out the big three but the pre-exhaust exercises will take the edge off and will not tempt you to push yourself over the limit while still reaping all of the benefits that these exercises provide.

3) Make sure you stretch between sets and after you are done for a few minutes.

4) Include some light cardio on rest days to help speed recovery and keep blood and nutrients flowing to the muscles, because you are likely going to be much more sore after your workouts as you age.

With enough persistence you should be able to get back to your glory days, you'll just be a lot smarter about how you do it.

The beauty part is, you'll be able to do it faster too!  No more messing around with lousy exercise or supplement schemes that don't work, because with age comes wisdom....I hope.

Any other tricks that you know of for combining intensity with longevity, I would love to hear it!

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