View Full Version : Under the Influence

02-05-2003, 10:06 AM
I have never kept a journal before and I do not know the impetus for starting one now. But, I would enjoy feedback of any sort. I don't usually talk to anyone about lifting because I seldom encounter anyone with a similar fortitude. Those I have met are just beginners and I have been their mentor. To my credit, I have directly helped three individuals acheive their goals. I couldn't force them to go to the gym but I was able to help with knowledge and motivation. I have a passion, not for the sport of bodybuilding or powerlifting itself, but for the simple acting of moving weight and accessing the body fully in the present. This passion is what I call "the influence". I believe it infects others around me. I have noticed this recently, based on changes in people's routines. One example, is the time I lift. I only go to my gym 45 minutes to closing. I must practice efficiency. I do not get stuck trying to lift something so heavy it will take five minutes to recover. In fact, it takes only five minutes per 3 sets in order to fit everything in. It sounds crazy, but I have found a system that provides good results and maximum intensity. I have noticed gym regulars are now lifting at the same time as me. During the last half hour, there were usually five people lifting. Now it averages twenty. I believe this invisible force is responsible.

Now I will give you a brief personal description. I weigh 200lbs. Five years ago, I was in the high 130's because of my training as a distance runner. I always pushed myself to hard and was injured fifty percent of the time. I was concerned about putting on mass for a while, but I no longer am. In fact, I haven't weighed myself in three months so I am probably closer to 205. Likewise, my bodyfat was 7 percent six months ago and is probably unchanged. I am 5'9". I supplement with protein. I cycle creatine. I tried 1AD when it came out and had excellent results but I haven't used it since. I have no desire to use steroids.

Here is my powerlifting level from August. It's not really a maximum effort because I don't train that way. Also, I don't use any straps or braces.
I don't really enjoy powerlifting it is more due to the influence guiding me toward it.

I believe I have properly introduced my journal. I will give you some advice for legs that I have never heard before. Last February, I broke my hand. After a week of lifting with it broken, I decided it had to be put in a cast for proper healing. I was able to reduce atrophy by using machines in place of free weights and using a strap on my cast to do curls. I took this period of time to turn a weakness, my legs, into a strength. I exclusively used a hack squat machine to simulate squats. I trained three times a week and did around six to ten sets. I went from 600 to 950 and later to 1050-I could not add any more weight at this point. The benefit of this machine is safety. You can safely overload your legs and acheive maximum gain. After my cast was removed, I did 405 for eight reps without a problem. Before, I had struggled with 375. My point is that machine safety enables one to go beyond free weight training. Unfortunately, it is seldom utilized in this way and some machines do not have adequate weight for real growth past a certain. However, it can maximize growth faster than free weights in some instances. In my case, legs. Machine makers cater to a market of casual women users. The more demand bodybuilders make for better machines, the sooner we will see double and triple stack machines.

02-05-2003, 10:39 AM
Chest and Triceps.

Duration: 40 minutes.

Decline:8x180, 8x230, 8x270, 8x270, 8x230.
Incline: 8x230, 8x270, 8x270, 8x180.
Sitting Cable Crossover High: 8x150, 8x200, 8x200
Sitting Cable Crossover Medium: 8x150, 8x170, 8x170

Cable Pushdown: 3x12x220
Seated Overhead DB Extension: 8x100, 2x8x110
Cable Pulldown: 8x60, 10x70, 12x70

I am not sure on the proper vocabulary for my triceps routine. The first is a standing cable with both arms pushing down. The second is a standing one arm pull down. I rarely read muscle magazines, so I have forgotten some vocabularly.

I am attempting to balance my chest. The upper chest was growing faster due to strong shoulders, so I am concentrating on bringing out the lower chest.

02-05-2003, 11:09 AM
Good luck and congrats on the journal! :spam:

02-05-2003, 07:32 PM
Thank you. I will do my best to maintain it.

02-07-2003, 10:13 AM
Back and Biceps

Deadlift:5x135, 8x225, 8x275, 8x315, 5x365, 3x405,
8x225 (hyperextension). No belt.

Isorow:8x180, 8x270, 8x270.

Close Grip Pull Down:8x180, 8x220, 8x220 drop 10x120.

Seated Curl: 5x70, 8x90, 8x110, 7x130.

Seated Reverse Curl: 8x70, 8x90, 8x90.

Hammer Curl: 10x45, 10x55, 10x60 drop 16x30.

Calve Raises: 8x275, 12x365, 15x365

It was good workout. I was self-conscious doing deadlifts. I workout in a gym frequented by prettyboys whose idea of a workout is seated curls with 10lbs for about 200 reps and 1 hour tanning. Also, my gym is on the second floor of a converted factory. The floor is wood and the room is completely open with the cardio machines facing the one area big enough for deadlifting. So, when I even gently put down my weight the floor shakes, weights fall off the rack, and everyone stares. The club attendants have even come over in the past thinking I was hurt. Then I had to explain that this is an actual lift that people do to get strong but I would appreciate 50 5lb plates on the squat rack that people like to use for curls be moved so they don't hit me anymore. Today, the cardio area had about 30 people which is around maximum capacity. Everytime I would do my set, no matter how carefully, the whole gym would stare. I'm not that strong. When I was doing the 405 set people literally waited for me to lift at the expense of their own set and just stared at me like if they mimicked what I did beforehand they could gain some sort of secret knowledge of lifting. I wasn't lifting that much but I felt self-conscious doing it because I had an audience. Then I had to deal with biceps while two prettyboys who had just finished tanning began their own 10-15lb 500 rep routine. EVERYTHING I did, they had to stare at. It wasn't an "I'm better than you" stare. Maybe they thought they knew a really good way to curl with 10lbs and were laughing at me that I required 60lbs. Maybe they were staring because I didn't have the deep tans or wore the tight white shirts with gold necklaces and cologne or because I was actually sweating.

I am a bit agitated thinking about it, but at least the workout was good.

02-07-2003, 02:22 PM
Workout looked pretty good IMO. Just take the stares and use it to generate more intensity with your lifts. Doesn't sound like you are too worried about what other people think anyway, which is the way it should be.

02-07-2003, 05:58 PM
i love the way you train.. pretty damn heavy and quick
dont worry i go to the same kind of gym, its just a meat market apparently most of the people that go there tend to think its a social club.. oh yeh and about machines i think your absolutly right.. there are some machines that are great even for body builders but the ones that i find i love i have maxed out the stack so it renders it uselss.

do you have any goals at this point?

02-07-2003, 07:14 PM
Bradley- I try not to let it affect my lifts and usually they do leave me alone. But, deads attract attention and that's not something I'm looking for. But don't worry, I won't let it both me to much.

Kook- I can empathize with reaching the end of the stack, usually you can add on 1 to 2 25lb plates by adding a pin in the middle of the stack if it doesn't affect ROM. Too bad your gym is a social club. I am out of CT, so it's the same region and probably the same type of problem. I was training at a gym in Hamden that was completely different. It was owned and maybe still owned by Mike Katz. As you can imagine, it was as hardcore as you could get with real powerlifters and bodybuilders. I could really push myself by their example. Now, I still feel at home in the gym, but I sometimes feel out of place. Right now, I'm not sure about goals really. When I was starting out I had definite goals for mass and strength. Along the way, I was seduced by the Iron Spirits. Now I am really just a servant training fervently hoping that they will bestow the short but wonderful feeling of immortality that you get from intense workouts. In a way, I really am looking for a metaphysical reality in the gym. When the gym becomes your church, prettyboys become the foreign infidels that have come to rob your inner sanctuary of its treasure without understanding its deeper meaning. That's why I get a little mad sometimes at people who train like know-it-alls and with disrespect. When I get some concrete goals, I will definitely list them, thanks for the support.

02-07-2003, 07:53 PM
i first read your intro a couple of days ago the first thing that came to mind was that your a taoist..? or better yet follow the way?

02-07-2003, 08:09 PM
One note:

You cannot isolate upper, middle, and lower regions of the chest.

02-08-2003, 11:05 AM
Kook- I have studied traditional (can trace 1 generation to Korea)martial arts since the age of four. This type of training was just as much Eastern philosophy as it was physical, with the mixed-martial arts phenomena, this is exceedingly rare. I was taught it as a way of being not as a sport. I have read all the major works of Eastern philosophy. I follow Taoism philosophy, but not religiously. It's tough to follow a religion based heavily on the idea of 'nothing'. The opportunity to be exposed to the unadulterated Eastern way has definitely shaped my perception on the world on an unconscious and integral level. I think the warrior philosophy found in the Hagakure or
The Book of Five Rings, which were not stressed in my martial arts training can also be valuable for people to re-evaluate their lifestyles. The Hagakure can certainly have a spiritually cleansing value. It puts no one above the master and this purifies the retainer's strength and his will. Today, we hold up many 'idols' and we serve many 'masters'. We have bosses, children, wives, relatives, celebrities, writers, politicians, etc., etc., etc. that we look up to. Many people would not treat a movie star or a billionaire the same way they treat a co-worker. Someone who follows the Hagakure holds only one person above himself but he knows exactly how to treat this individual. The difference is that a Samurai allows servitude. Today, we are under terrible social shackles. Many Western people do not approve of caste systems, but I believe we live in a similar but unstated condition. How often do millionares and minimum wage workers actually speak? If they were alone in a room together would they choose to have a conversation? There are many lessons in the Hagakure but I think self-empowerment is the one that speaks loudest today.

_-_v_-_- You are correct. You will can't really isolate one part of the chest. Concurrently, you must also use your triceps for chest lifts. However, triceps are better trained with other exercises. From experience, the same is true of chest exercises. You activate more upper chest muscles on incline than on decline. I had been doing incline first for about a year and a half to gain size in my upper chest. It definitely worked. My weaker point of my chest became my stronger. And now, I am trying to achieve the same with my lower pectoral region. I will be using some upper chest muscle on the decline, yes. There are too many real life examples that prove isolation does exist. Have you ever seen someone who only does flat and never incline. This is a very popular look for male models. But, from the side don't they look like they are sagging and larger on the bottom. In my case, the upper chest is slightly bigger and tying into the shoulder, so I am changing my routine. This is a very fundamental concept of bodybuilding. Otherwise, we would all train using the most anabolic lifts in order to activate the most muscles possible. Unfortunately, powerlifting does not guarantee size alone. Isolation is what I use to try to gain size and keep proportional. If you meant something else, can you elaborate it? I always like learning new things.

02-08-2003, 02:33 PM
Legs Shoulders Traps

Hack Squats
410x8, 590x8, 770x8, 950x8, 1130x8, 1175x8, 950x8, 590x10

Box Squats
225x8, 315x5, 315x5, 225x8

Leg Extensions- Single Leg
90x8, 110x8, 130x8, 130x8

DB Shoulder Press
65x8, 80x8, 85x8

Military Press Machine
4 Platesx8, 6 Platesx8, 6 Plates Plus 50x8, 6 Plates Plus 100x8

Lateral Raises
25x8, 35x8, 35x8

Reverse Fly
90x8, 120x8, 120x8

Behind Neck Pulldown
90x8, 150x8, 220x8, 220x8, 150x8

Trap Machine (Modified)
250x10, 260x15, 260x20

BB Trap Raise
135x8, 225x8, 225x8, 135x10

Good workout. Working on leg strength for a better squat. It occured to me to do shallow pulldowns behind the neck as a trap isolation. I tried it shallow and it felt fine on my shoulder and hit the lower traps really well.

02-08-2003, 03:38 PM
What I am saying is that you cannot "selectively" target the upper chest as opposed to the lower chest; in other words, the shape of your muscle is genetically determined, and all training does is increase its size according to its original genetic blueprint. If muscles could selectively be shaped, every professional bodybuilder would have peaked biceps, developed upper, lower, and inner chests, etc....

02-08-2003, 05:00 PM
i never thought of it as a religion but more a way of life also, things just seem to happen the right way now. or it could be that i accept that what happens is supposed to happen to me.. like fate.

02-09-2003, 12:56 PM
I definitely agree that peaks can't be changed, biceps of course come to mind. But biceps can also be trained in a selective manner. By choosing a wide or narrow grip, the inner or outer section will develop differently. You can't change the actual peak shape, but you can alter the overall appearance. The pectoral muscle is divided into upper and lower. Selectively training one section (not entirely isolating) more than the other will change the appearance of the muscle. You can't selectively train inner or outer chest because the pectoral muscle is not naturally divided in this way. Bodybuilders must be aware of this to avoid losing muscular balance.

02-09-2003, 01:09 PM
Please don't take this in any way as a personal criticism or flame, but I believe that there are several misconceptions in your post.

You may wish to browse through the posts in training on this very subject; I believe Hulk has several linked in his sig.

Regarding biceps, there is simply no way to selectively grow the outer or inner section of the biceps; it cannot occur. Muscles grow or shrink en toto; if sufficient demands are placed upon them, muscles increase in size; if not, they decrease.

The pectoralis major is one muscle; it has multiple insertion points, yes, but it is one muscle . Thus it cannot be selectively targeted as "upper" and "lower". I leave the pectoralis minor out of the discussion because it is not relevant to the dichotomy of "upper" and "lower" chest, both of which refer to perceived divisions of the pectoralis major.

Again, look at Hulk's sig. There have been many, many threads on this subject.

Please don't take this as a personal criticism. From your writing, you seem highly intelligent; I've enjoyed the discussion.

02-09-2003, 02:43 PM
Well, I do remember some of the arguments so I went back to some posts.
This is the one that stresses it's all one muscle.
In this thread some opinions shift and there is also mention that disproportionate muscles will not be allowed by the body, which is another interesting argument.
This one actually clears up the original argument I think as far as upper/lower regions.
When I meant upper chest, I was not anatomically correct. When I envision upper chest, it's a very small part and is actually grouped with shoulders I now realize.
I've been bodybuilding for about five years, so I don't know everything I should. I'm not sure about biceps either, they are a weak point. But, I have good neuromuscular coordination and can honestly feel the different regions if I concentrate. But I guess when I 'felt' the upper chest, it was actually an aspect of my shoulder.
I know many things are debatable and bodybuilding is complex. Many things bodybuilders have done and were regarded by science as myth have now been proven right. Bodybuilders are not scientists they are artists. Similarly, I train as an artist paints: with knowledge but also with intuition, not as a man of science but one of religion. Faith has not yet let me down.

02-09-2003, 02:57 PM
The pectoralis major is one muscle; it has multiple insertion points, yes, but it is one muscle . Thus it cannot be selectively targeted as "upper" and "lower". I leave the pectoralis minor out of the discussion because it is not relevant to the dichotomy of "upper" and "lower" chest, both of which refer to perceived divisions of the pectoralis major.
I wanted to clear up this fully. If someone believes the pectoralis major has a division, I don't agree, maybe they see straition.The major and minor are where I find a division, and where I have been corrected. When I think upper and lower chest, I include the major and minor. I hope this clear, it seems it was simple misperception and miscommunication on my part.

02-09-2003, 04:54 PM
Great posts.

Remember, though, that simply because you feel the movement in the upper chest/shoulder does not equate with greater growth in that region.

Granted, incline bench will stress more directly the front delts, which, if large enough, may give the appearance of a larger upper chest. This is not to say, however, that the movement selectively targets the upper chest; and there are, I believe, more effective methods by which one can train the front delt.

What is most important in this discussion, I believe, is selecting the movement that is most comfortable for an individual. If incline bench is more comfortable for you than flat bench, then by all means do incline. The difference in chest growth, I believe, between these two movements will likely be minimal.

One further point: Simply because bodybuilders have been proven correct in the past does not necessarily suggest that we should rely on bodybuilding mythos instead of proper science. Similarly, astrological predictions may occassionally be proved correct, but I would rather not place my trust in them :) I prefer empirical verification myself.

That said, I've much enjoyed the discussion.

02-09-2003, 09:49 PM
Based on this discussion, I've really gained an awareness that I am training my shoulders on chest day. I'm going to study my workouts closer to make sure I'm training correctly. I have had excellent growth in my front delt region and now I realize I have essentially been training twice every cycle. I already train my calves twice a cycle with high repetitions and they have also grown well. I have always believed that you can't train the upper body like that, but maybe I already am.

I only believe what bodybuilders say based on what they do. I have known a few people featured in muscle magazines and the biggest factor for them is steroids. The special routines featured in those magazines are almost always untrue. However, if you have the chance to see a professional bodybuilder train, they have a total mastery of the weight in a way that transcends scientific analysis. I approach the gym more spiritually than scientifically. I am more interested in the deeper mental aspects of weightlifting, than the physically provable. Some of the older beliefs still intrigue me because they were formed before steroids and they are radically different from what is practiced today. I believe this wisdom waits relatively forgotten for those who train without drugs. I hope to study this more in the future.

I am glad to have had this thoughtful debate. It's shown me that these controversial subjects are actually quite complex despite both sides claiming simple solutions.

02-09-2003, 10:42 PM
Couldn't have said it better myself.

02-11-2003, 07:43 AM
Chest and Triceps
DB Incline
50x8, 80x8, 100x10
BB Incline
180x8, 230x8 drop 90x10
90x8, 180x8, 180x8
BB Decline
135x8, 2x8x225
Fly Machine

Close Grip Bench
Standing Overhead Ext and Dip Superset
8x90 and 10, 8x9 and 10, 7x100 and 10
Single Arm Pulldown
8x40, 8x60, 8x70, 8x90

It was a good workout. My gym doesn't have 105 lb dumbbells, so I have to go to 110lb soon which is hard because I don't use spotters.

02-11-2003, 08:16 AM
Impressive chest strength, rety. Benching 100 dumbbells for 10 is great. Have you tested your 1RM?

Also, who is your avatar, btw?

02-12-2003, 08:48 AM
A year and a half ago, I workout with a friend and maxed out on incline db with 120lb for five reps. If I had a spotter constantly, I would go too hard and hurt my shoulder(s). I can probably hit 130 or 140 for 5 with a spotter. I won't do a real 1 RM on bench because, although my chest is strong, the rotator cuff and triceps have a tendency to really scream at me (in a bad way). Personally, I like going hard on incline because the it's a little better position for my shoulder where my back and rear delts can help balance it. Flat bench doesn't work out as well because, for me, it's more difficult to balance the weight. It's great to be able to lift really heavy on bench but, through a half dozen related injuries, I've learned to keep my ego under control. My avatar is the world-renown, mind-shattering, under the influence wolf himself: rety999!

02-13-2003, 12:09 PM
Biceps Back
Calf Raise
8x320, 8x380, 8x380
8x95, 8x115, 8x115
Reverse Curl Standing Preacher
8x75, 8x85, 8x85
Incline Curl Single
16x25, 18x35, 16x35
DB Row
8x100, 8x120, 8x140
Machine Row
8x180, 8x220, 8x280
BB Row
8x135, 8x185, 10x185

It looks like a lot of rows, but they hit my back differently. Back workout was pretty strong.

I saw someone doing squats today. Unfortunately, he used a pad with 135lb. The strange thing was he grabbed the top of the plates to hold it. It seems like that would force the back to balance all of the weight without help holding the from the arms. He also did 225lb which is the highest squat I have ever seen in that gym, besides what I do myself. I should have said something to correct him, but I didn't. He'll learn it himself if he goes much higher with that form.

02-13-2003, 09:38 PM
is that the order you do your bi back day?
if it is i would rather use all my strength from my bis to do all the back work first and then rip up the bi's?
but if you know something i dont please explain :)

02-14-2003, 01:56 PM
Typically, compound movements come first and smaller muscle groups last. But, I am trying to improve my biceps doing them fresh. Plus, I knew it was going to be relatively easy back workout so I put it last.

02-14-2003, 02:10 PM
Shoulders Traps
5x135, 1x185, 1x205, 1x185, 20x135
BB Military Press
8x185, 8x225, 8x275
Bent Side Lateral Raise
8x35, 8x45, 8x55
Reverse Fly
8x100, 8x120, 8x120
Shallow Pulldown
Trap Raise Machine
10x300, 15x300, 20x300
BB Trap Raise Superset
I don't think the cleans are adequate for my routine. They are not isolated enough and I lack the explosive coordination to do them well. I had done biceps the day before and this hindered my strength on the cleans. When done correctly, it is a lift that requires coordination and raw strength can only help me so far. I am definitely going to try to replace it for now, although it is an exercise my ego does not want to give up.

02-14-2003, 05:05 PM
nice shoulder session

02-15-2003, 10:42 AM
8x135, 8x225, 8x315, 8x405
90 Degree Hack Squats
8x180, 8x270, 8x270
Cossack Squats Smith Machine
Squat Smith Machine
Leg Extension
8x150, 8x300, 10x300
Standing Leg Curl
8x40, 8x50, 8x50

This session was targeted flexibilty. I got deep on everything. The last sets of squats on smith machine were extremely deep and hit the bottom. This workout was good because I require the same amount of weight but with the added ROM the volume was the same. I think I will train this way again.

02-16-2003, 12:54 PM
Chest Triceps
Incline DB
8x40, 8x80, 8x100, 8x100
BB Bench
8x135, 8x185, 8x225, 8x185
BB Decline
8x225, 8x315, 8x275
8x150, 8x220, 8x220
8x60, 8x80, 8x90
Cable Pushdown
Single Cable Pushdown
8x50, 8x70, 8x80
Calf Raise
8x350, 2x8x395
15x280, 2x20x300
It was a good day for power on inclines. I would like 105lb Db, but I don't have them.

06-23-2004, 09:14 AM
Whatever happened to this dude?