Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prioritize Your Shit

Be honest with yourself.
How much of your program is dedicated towards things that don't really matter?

Endless curls and tricep pulldowns won't make your arms grow any more than peeing makes your dick bigger. Isolation exercises do have their place, but the majority of your program should be dedicated towards heavy compound lifts (especially if you are a natural lifter).

Below is a decent start for prioritizing your lifting schedule. Pick and choose what you are already comfortable with based on the importance of the lift, or refer to the Starting Strength program to remove the guesswork.

Tier1: The Big Three
Back Squat/Deadlift/Bench Press
Considered the big 3 lifts for a reason. Don't puss out when it comes to adding weight to the bar. Bench pressing 135 twenty times will make you really good at bench pressing 135 twenty times and nothing else. Go heavy.

- leg press/leg extensions are NOT replacements for a back squat
- if you hate your knees, by all means continue leg extensions
- train with a full range of motion, partial movements have their place in strengthening your tendons and premping your CNS (central nervous system) for higher weights, but they should not make up the majority of your heavy work
- do not let your back round on your pull upwards
Bench Press
- try a closer grip if you have shoulder issues (shoulder width is my favorite)
- see Dave Tate's advice for better form

Tier2: The Man Makers
Overhead Press/Power Cleans/Front Squat
All three of these lifts are comprised of motions that allow you to lift heavy, but are more technical to perform than their tier1 counterparts. Make no mistake, you should still go heavy, but expect a more difficult learning curve as you progress. 

Overhead Press 
- can force more reps out with a push-press (use your legs to drive momentum before you press)
- ditch your lateral raises and focus on adding more weight to this exercise 
Power Cleans 
- this is a difficult exercise, and should be attempted with light weights at first
- comprised of 2 distinct pulls, make sure you're doing both or your lower back will want to murder you 
Front Squats 
- much more difficult than a back squat
- a heavy workout for quads, abs, and shoulders

Tier3: Assistance Work 
Chinups&Pullups/Dips/DB Bench Press
Add in assistance work after your main lifts have been completed for the day. These should not be the focus of your workout, but they shouldn't be ignored either.

- chinups (underhand grip) add more stress to your biceps
- pullups (overhand grip) add more stress to your back
- add weight if possible (hold a DB between your legs or use a dip belt)
- are you still doing lat pulldowns...fucker 
- stay upright to add more stress to your triceps, lean forward to add more stress to your chest
- add weight if possible (hold a DB between your legs or use a dip belt)
DB Bench Press
- don't be a douche and click your weights together, no one likes that guy

Tier4: Isolation Exercises
- includes curls/pulldowns/calf raises/etc
- used for refining an already solid body or to get a blood pump when you really want it
- work your heavy compound exercises in first, finish with the exercises that take the smallest amount of muscle

Bros who curl in the squat rack are made of used vagina.
Don't be a bro. Get stronger.

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