By Marc Lobliner
I am 42 years old, and my gains have been amazing simply using these principles and going HARD AS HECK! Drop the weight, use full ROM, control the speed of the rep, pause at the bottom of the eccentric and WORK!
The one thing that the great bodybuilders have in common is that they trained with intensity for at least part of their career. Dorian Yates trained beyond failure. Ronnie Coleman trained with insane volume, but one could say that 800-pound deadlifts three weeks out from the Mr. Olympia were intense.
Both legends went so hard that Dorian tore his triceps prepping for the Olympia and Ronnie, after herniating two disks very early in his career, has ongoing back issues and multiple surgeries have all led up to his present situation along with extensive nerve damage, can no longer walk unassisted.
This is what separates the greats from everyone else. When you look at someone who has a great physique and they might not train intense right now, you can almost be 100 percent sure that at one point in their life that they trained like an absolute madman and that’s where most of their gains were made. Whether it was as a teenager training for football or with the bros, at some point in their lives they didn’t count seconds on eccentric movements and they just lifted … hard and heavy.
But you can’t do that forever because your body will fall apart. Training age will necessitate the need for you to work on other ways to stress the muscle besides just training like a crazy person.
We must evolve.
Here are some training techniques we can utilize to avoid injury, wear and tear, and be able to train and enjoy the gym until the reaper comes!
1. SLOW Eccentrics
This is a tricky one since eccentrics are the part of the lift that make you sore.
But the cool part is, it is also the part the causes the most muscle trauma and GROWTH!
Thus, one thing I learned from spending time with Mike Israetel last week is that by slowing things down, pausing at the full stretch of the movement, and then coming up controlled … boy, did we elicit some muscle trauma with ZERO joint pain!
2. FULL ROM
While my friend Mike preaches this, we have known and used this for a long time. By going through the ENTIRE range of motion with less weight, you can elicit more force, work the entire muscle, and have less force placed on the joints so better longevity. For me, since training like this for a while now, my mobility when I coach kids at Legacy at Carbon is MUCH improved and I feel better as a human overall.
3. Train Like an Athlete
By doing things like mini-hurdles, mini-bands, and other prehab movements we use for our athletes at legacyatcarbon.com, we can keep our joints and ligaments stable and healthy to keep us lifting hard in the gym and moving well in life as we age.
4. Kill the Ego
I ego-lift and you’ve seen it on my Instagram, and I have been very lucky. I am 42 years old, and my gains have been amazing simply using the principles above and going HARD AS HECK! Drop the weight, use full ROM, control the speed of the rep, pause at the bottom of the eccentric and WORK!
What Does the Science Say?
This is what I love about science, it can back any statement as long as you cherry-pick what you need to use to validate your statement. So, what I will do is spare you multiple pages of citations and surmise what I interpret the science says.
Going to failure is not necessary to optimize hypertrophy. Going within one to three reps of failure is just as good. But training to failure can work. If you do decide to train to failure, keep your volume lower, like instead of three to four sets do one to two sets. As the old saying goes, you can have volume or intensity, but not both.
1. Use full range of motion – I mean a FULL range of motion!
2. Slow it down and focus on the eccentric.
3. If going beyond failure, cut the volume down.
While training hard looks good on video and on the gram and gets views, being injured looks stupid. Train hard, but don’t sacrifice form and control for it and get MORE gains and have less chance of injury!
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