In my last article, Train Like A Man, I spoke from the gut about how men today are training like they're auditioning for the Vienna Boys Choir.
In this follow-up, I'll provide a few routines that will help you battle back against the ever-mounting wave of "What Not To Do" training.
Ready to hit the gym with a little more purpose and direction? Then read on.
Spitting in Church
If you and I are cut from the same cloth, then I know what you're thinking: "Man, every where I turn I see this castration stuff."
The guy at work complaining about his "raging migraine." The depression your friend went into when he heard Oprah was retiring. The creepy smile Joe Montana sports during his Shape Ups "butt toning" shoe commercials.
The stuff is virtually everywhere, but for me, when it started showing up in the gym was the last straw. That's like spitting on the church floor.
It's high time to bring good old tension and natural human movement back into the mainstream.
Here's the Big T gym rules for getting back your manhood. These shouldn't be too hard to implement; that is, unless the only time you squat is to pee.
- Train with increased intensity using big compound lifts.
- Lose the fat. Less fat, less estrogen. 'Nuff said.
- Get ample rest in between training. Overtraining will also lower your Testosterone, so get more quality sleep.
- Eat more protein and don't forget the fish oil. That stuff is almost as popular today as a rowing one-footed plank on a Swiss ball.
- Cut back on the alcohol, no matter how many red wine studies you've read. Up the water instead.
- Make man boobs a mortal sin instead of a funny joke or reason not to wear white Under Armor to the gym.
If you're having trouble wrapping your head around this big picture stuff (not surprising, did you know soy also affects brain development?), here are four of my favorite training routines to generate big time Testosterone-stimulating tension.
The first two ramp up T by adding weight to the bar, and the last two remind you to use the most important piece of equipment you have – your body.
This workout is named after Rich Sadiv, my training partner and mentor. Sadiv is 47-years-old with a lifetime drug-free 694.5 pound deadlift at 195 pounds,
Note: You must have been training for a number of weeks in both the deadlift and the bench press before attempting Sadiv sets.
Perform the following deadlift workout once a week:
- Load a barbell with 60% of your deadlift 1RM and set a timer for 12 minutes.
- Perform as many single reps as possible in 12 minutes, shooting for a minimum of 20 reps.
- Each rep should be performed with maximal speed from the floor.
- Release the bar completely between reps; rest until you're ready, and repeat.
- Once 12 minutes are up, retrieve that lung you expelled around minute 9 and record your score.
For example, let's say you used 305 lbs. and hit 20 reps in 12 minutes. It doesn't matter if you did it in 4 sets of 5, or 2 sets of 10. It's still 60% of your 1RM for 20 hard, fast reps and that's a ton of muscle-building tension. Next week, get 21 reps.
You can also do Sadiv sets with bench presses – just raise the intensity to 90% and drop the timer to 10 minutes. This time only shoot for 10 reps.
For example, last week I hit 340 for 10 reps in 10 minutes. 340 pounds is a weight I can usually only get for a double. The result is 10 reps with a very high percentage of my 1RM. Can you say tension?
People often ask why 60% for the dead and 90% for the bench? It comes down to the maximum weight that can be performed on each lift versus the minimum number of reps I've prescribed.
For instance, Rich has almost a 700-pound deadlift. 60% of that is 420 pounds. To be able to move fast and get the number of reps (20 minimum), through trial and error we've found this to be a good percentage to use.
As for the bench presses, why 20 reps instead of 10? There's more muscle mass used in the deadlift so we doubled the number of reps.
Need some inspiration? Check out the videos below:
If you're doing more than six reps, you're doing cardio. Since fat loss and muscle gain are two of the most common desires of men in the gym, here's my version of cardio that will jack up both your arms and heart.
- If you weigh 200 pounds, set up 275 pounds on a flat bench press, 275 pounds on a deadlifting bar, and place a 75-pound dumbbell by the dip and chin up station.
- Hit the bench for as many reps as possible. Rest 30 seconds.
- Do the same thing with deadlifts, weighted dips, and weighted chins, and record your total number of reps for each.
- Rest five minutes and repeat for 1-2 more sets.
Not only will you hit all the big muscles, you'll get a great workout in less time – with a cardiovascular benefit, too!
If 275 pounds is too heavy, try starting at body weight or even by adding five or ten pounds to body weight and work up from there.
Note: The noises you emit performing this set will make people around you nervous; if you look really weary, be sure no one frantically calls 911 by reminding them that this appearance of fatigue is often associated with something called "exercise."
Check out the video below for inspiration.
Make Your Plank A Pushup Instead
For the past four years I've made pushups a regular part of my routine. I do a minimum of 100 three times per week – that puts me at more than 60,000 over that time and I've never felt better. In fact, last month I set a raw state record of 355 pounds in the bench press at 198 pounds. So, although you might think that the pushup is child's play, my results suggest otherwise.
Pushups are a great core exercise and by changing the angles of movement you're able to hit the muscles differently and access more strength. If you dream of doing a five minute plank – and those people are out there, believe me – but can't imagine doing five pushups, time to turn off The Bachelor, get on the floor, and start banging out some reps.
The challenge in my book, Ultimate Warrior Workouts, was to see if you could do 100 pushups in four minutes. If you nail that one, see if you can hang with me on my newest four-minute challenge.
Get Your Sprint On
There's something about running a good sprint. Maybe it connects us to what we were designed to do or reminds us that our bodies are built for hard work? All I know is it works.
Sprinting hits a ton of musculature, fires up fast twitch fibers, and burns fat like an inferno. Who wouldn't want to look like an Olympic sprinter anyway? Instead of plodding along on the treadmill like a zombie, get on the track and move!
If you haven't sprinted in a while, common sense is key. Going out for the first time since high school and trying to rip off ten 100-meter sprints will probably rip off both hamstrings instead. Just like you wouldn't throw 400 lbs. onto the bar for your opening bench workout, ease into the sprinting.
After a good 20 minute warm-up, hit six 10-yard sprints. The next day or two, see how you feel. If that was okay, rest two days and move the distance up to 20 yards and build from there. Continue to ensure you take a day of rest between workouts and gradually work up to 40 yards as a maximum distance, then learn to control your intensity.
So, the first few times you run 40's, start at 60% and undulate intensity according to your plan in the continuing weeks. Sprinting 40's will work your body like you can't imagine and have you thinking about those high school days (unless high school meant playing Nintendo and skipping gym class).
Six to eight sprints per workout a couple times a week (again, use common sense) is all you need.
The exercise suggestions above are my opinion. Like most opinions, I believe in mine and have seen them work for thousands of athletes, including many of the top performers in the world.
Granted, if there was a guaranteed "best" thing to do to produce muscle, strength, and confidence gains, we'd all be doing it and the Internet would be shut down. But research and countless hours of hands-on experience suggests that nothing works better than heavy hard work to pack on muscle and strip fat. So whatever your end fitness goal is, that seems like a great place to start.
Of course, if you'd rather spend your gym time hitting a hard set of planks while you dream about your post workout soymilk latte, go ahead. I suggest maybe you make that plank into a pushup if you really want to be a man.
After all, the late Jack LaLanne, the godfather of fitness who greatly influenced my decision to make my passion for fitness a career, banged out 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes to set a world record.
1,033 pushups in 23 minutes? Doesn't that also mean he did a 23-minute plank?
Until next time – train like a man!