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Thread: Allen's Off Season Training and Nutrition

  1. #51
    Senior Member ELmx479's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Cress View Post
    When training specifically for development (cosmetics) I could care less how much I lift. My only guideline is if its challenging in whatever rep range I do. I haven't focused on how much I lift since I use to compete in powerlifting. Most don't do 20 or 30 rep squats because they are soo demanding and obviously you have to put less weight on the bar and a lot of peoples ego gets in the way.

    There is nothing wrong with increasing strength, but the problems is when people in the industry say the only way to grow or increase muscle mass is to get stronger or add more and more weight to the bar, this just isn't true.

    There is a ceiling effect to max strength so what happens when you cant lift more does that mean you can't grow? Of course not. Your muscle only knows how much stress its under not how much weight you are lifting and yes there is a difference. Training the muscle and not the movement is one way to activate more muscle fiber and to target what your trying to develope.

    Also training in different ranges and planes of motion outside of traditional lifts will stimulate more muscle activation as well which will induce growth. Learning how to properly lift a weight for a desired effect is what is missing with most when training for muscle development.

    Another thing is if you just focus on training intensely and properly stimulating the muscle strength will come overtime. Once I started training the way I train now, after I stopped powerlifting, I gained twice the size I ever did when training just for strength.

    Now I'm not saying you should never do low reps as I still surf the strength curve, but if size is your main goal you should mainly stay in the 6-20 rep range and incorporate functional moves as well. Proper program design tailored to the individual is very important.
    Thanks, that was a great reply. I am finding myself more interested in looks vs. strength but I have a lot to learn.

  2. #52
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    One week to go

    The last 3 weeks I have lost 4 lbs without changing anything. I am still on the Cycle diet with my regular days at 3000 calories with 1 and a half days per week of re-feeds were I typically eat 10,000 cal on a whole re-feed day and 5-6000 cal on my half day.

    So to keep weight from dropping anymore I will add 1000 cal to my regular days until I take a week off after the workshop next week. After the break I will start back up with pure bulking diet the rest of the off season.

    Monday I destroyed Legs:

    1) DB split squat 3 x 8-10
    2) BB Alternating Lunge 3 x 8-10
    3) Single DB lateral split squat 3 x 10-12
    4) BB squats 3 x 25

    AB/Core work

  3. #53
    A gallon a day, everyday! ThomasG's Avatar
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    Good stuff in here allen your training always peaks my interest. Why do you leave squats at the end when they are traditionally done first on a leg day?
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  4. #54
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasG View Post
    Good stuff in here allen your training always peaks my interest. Why do you leave squats at the end when they are traditionally done first on a leg day?
    Why do them first? Most people do them first out of traditionalism and so they can use more weight. For development purposes there is absolutely no reason you need to always do them first. When training for just muscle mass putting stress on the muscle is one of the most important things as well as training hard. Also when doing a compound movement like squats last you will obviously use less weight which is a good thing for a lot of people because it will allow them to target that muscle even more.

    Don't get stuck in traditionalism, step outside the box and you will progress much quicker.

  5. #55
    A gallon a day, everyday! ThomasG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Cress View Post
    Why do them first? Most people do them first out of traditionalism and so they can use more weight. For development purposes there is absolutely no reason you need to always do them first. When training for just muscle mass putting stress on the muscle is one of the most important things as well as training hard. Also when doing a compound movement like squats last you will obviously use less weight which is a good thing for a lot of people because it will allow them to target that muscle even more.

    Don't get stuck in traditionalism, step outside the box and you will progress much quicker.
    I would say do them first because squats will induce more growth overall than
    1) DB split squats
    2) BB Alternating Lunges
    3) Single DB lateral splits

    Also a lower risk of injury performing them first. I'm always trying to think outside the box and try new philosophies which is why I ask.

    Very interesting. I train for performance but I am in complete agreement with the train the muscle not the movement for cosmetic purposes. I've read a lot of Abel's material and implement it when training my cosmetic athletes. That's got to take some mental dexterity to do 3x25 on squats at the end of a workout.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athos View Post
    you're an intelligent guy... but you're also half #$%&ing crazy... and that my friend is the formula for a great powerlifter.
    23 Years old
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  6. #56
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThomasG View Post
    I would say do them first because squats will induce more growth overall than
    1) DB split squats
    2) BB Alternating Lunges
    3) Single DB lateral splits

    Also a lower risk of injury performing them first. I'm always trying to think outside the box and try new philosophies which is why I ask.
    .
    How would doing them first induce more growth? The only reason I see you saying this is because you can use more weight, which is not the key to more growth. Again placing the targetid muscle under stress, time under tension, TEP(training efficiency percentage) which is the number or percentage of reps in a given set that elicit an adaptive response.

    You do not have to be 1RM “strong” in terms of how much you can lift, to develop a body or develop strength; but you do need to apply max efforts consistently. For development How much you lift is secondary to how hard you lift. So it’s not about “lifting more” it is about “lifting better.” The mind muscle connection is at the heart of the notion that the muscles work the weights; the weights don’t work the muscles.

    Split squats and lunges activate your hams, glutes, and quads as much as Squats do, but I'm not saying one is better than the other because they all are great movements for development. Always placing squats first doesn't create a developed and balanced physique its the collection of exercises placed properly in a program and tailored to fit an individuals specific anatomical leverage.

    The only reason one would get injured is if they are using too much weight, which comes back to them lifting with their ego and not their muscle.

  7. #57
    Rory Parker Behemoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Cress View Post
    How would doing them first induce more growth? The only reason I see you saying this is because you can use more weight, which is not the key to more growth. Again placing the targetid muscle under stress, time under tension, TEP(training efficiency percentage) which is the number or percentage of reps in a given set that elicit an adaptive response.

    You do not have to be 1RM “strong” in terms of how much you can lift, to develop a body or develop strength; but you do need to apply max efforts consistently. For development How much you lift is secondary to how hard you lift. So it’s not about “lifting more” it is about “lifting better.” The mind muscle connection is at the heart of the notion that the muscles work the weights; the weights don’t work the muscles.

    Split squats and lunges activate your hams, glutes, and quads as much as Squats do, but I'm not saying one is better than the other because they all are great movements for development. Always placing squats first doesn't create a developed and balanced physique its the collection of exercises placed properly in a program and tailored to fit an individuals specific anatomical leverage.

    The only reason one would get injured is if they are using too much weight, which comes back to them lifting with their ego and not their muscle.
    Man was all of this perfectly put. The second paragraph is especially dead on to what I know from personal experience over the years as a lifter who strives only for size, density and balance. Unfortunately I think it takes far too long for a lot of lifters to really grasp what this means with regard to their workouts week in and week out. Using less weight at times to focus on a better contraction, or explosiveness, control, mind-muscle connection etc etc is so important in hypertrophy. As well as lifting very heavy has it's place too, it's all about pushing the muslce as far as it can be pushed whether that be through the weight used or some other venture. You said it so well Allen.
    Last edited by Behemoth; 06-29-2010 at 07:06 PM.
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  8. #58
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    So Allen, would you recommend a beginner bodybuilder to train in said way? I.e., using a weight that feels difficult, but if it's less weight than used last workout it's okay? I currently train higher volume and strive for more reps or weight every session. Did you ever train in such a way?

    Maybe I'm not being perfectly clear. I guess what I'm asking is would you recommend such auto-regulation to a beginner?

    And Rory, I thought you had always pretty much trained for linear progression, no? As in constantly putting striving for more weight on the bar each time, etc.?


  9. #59
    Rory Parker Behemoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chevelle2291 View Post
    And Rory, I thought you had always pretty much trained for linear progression, no? As in constantly putting striving for more weight on the bar each time, etc.?

    No. I definetly don't. For instance I worked up to 335 for sets on BB rows last winter. But eventually dropped that down nearly 100lbs to work up the weight again with more feel. It's somewhat hard to explain unless you're really cognitive of what true muscular failure is IMO. If I never work past that weight again I'm fine with it. I know I can still induce an incredible amount of hypetrophy using less weight than weights I've peaked up to. But the goal is always upward progression, it's just the balance of the relationship of when weight beomes more important than feel (but I belive at times weight is more important too, ultimately allowing us to back off again and use somewhat lighter weights with more control). Obviously feeling the sets maximally with 95lbs on the bar would be fairly futile in this instance.

    This is Allens journal so I'll let him answer the first part of your question. My personal opinion though is that starting out it would be very easy for a beginning to lower the weight and think they're getting the same recruitment as they would with straight linear progression. For that reason I advise a more traditional approach of more weight or more reps for the somewhat newer lifter who doesn't have as much mastery over certain lifts. I just don't see how a newer lifter would really know just how to push themselves with a dropping back approach.
    Last edited by Behemoth; 06-29-2010 at 07:38 PM.
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  10. #60
    House Lannister
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    Quote Originally Posted by Behemoth View Post
    No. I definetly don't. For instance I worked up to 335 for sets on BB rows last winter. But eventually dropped that down nearly 100lbs to work up the weight again with more feel. It's somewhat hard to explain unless you're really cognitive of what true muscular failure is IMO. If I never work past that weight again I'm fine with it. I know I can still induce an incredible amount of hypetrophy using less weight than weights I've peaked up to. But the goal is always upward progression, it's just the balance of the relationship of when weight beomes more important than feel (but I belive at times weight is more important too, ultimately allowing us to back off again and use somewhat lighter weights with more control). Obviously feeling the sets maximally with 95lbs on the bar would be fairly futile in this instance.

    This is Allens journal so I'll let him answer the first part of your question. My personal opinion though is that starting out it would be very easy for a beginning to lower the weight and think they're getting the same recruitment as they would with straight linear progression. For that reason I advise a more traditional approach of more weight or more reps for the somewhat newer lifter who doesn't have as much mastery over certain lifts. I just don't see how a newer lifter would really know just how to push themselves with a dropping back approach.
    Clearly I have a lot to learn about training...

  11. #61
    A gallon a day, everyday! ThomasG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Cress View Post
    How would doing them first induce more growth? The only reason I see you saying this is because you can use more weight, which is not the key to more growth. Again placing the targetid muscle under stress, time under tension, TEP(training efficiency percentage) which is the number or percentage of reps in a given set that elicit an adaptive response.

    You do not have to be 1RM “strong” in terms of how much you can lift, to develop a body or develop strength; but you do need to apply max efforts consistently. For development How much you lift is secondary to how hard you lift. So it’s not about “lifting more” it is about “lifting better.” The mind muscle connection is at the heart of the notion that the muscles work the weights; the weights don’t work the muscles.

    Split squats and lunges activate your hams, glutes, and quads as much as Squats do, but I'm not saying one is better than the other because they all are great movements for development. Always placing squats first doesn't create a developed and balanced physique its the collection of exercises placed properly in a program and tailored to fit an individuals specific anatomical leverage.

    The only reason one would get injured is if they are using too much weight, which comes back to them lifting with their ego and not their muscle.
    Thanks for the informative post Allen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athos View Post
    you're an intelligent guy... but you're also half #$%&ing crazy... and that my friend is the formula for a great powerlifter.
    23 Years old
    5'10 198'er
    Squat-565(wraps) 560(Raw)
    Bench:365(raw)
    Deadlift:555(raw)
    Front Squat-465x1 (wraps) 405x2 (raw)
    AtLarge Nutrition Optimize your body and Support WBB

  12. #62
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chevelle2291 View Post
    So Allen, would you recommend a beginner bodybuilder to train in said way? I.e., using a weight that feels difficult, but if it's less weight than used last workout it's okay? I currently train higher volume and strive for more reps or weight every session. Did you ever train in such a way?

    Maybe I'm not being perfectly clear. I guess what I'm asking is would you recommend such auto-regulation to a beginner?
    :
    Yes, but there is a greater TEP in the advanced trainee than there is in the intermediate lifter; for the beginner or intermediate lifter difficulty only comes near the end of a set, usually the last 3-4 reps in say a 10 rep set as opposed to an advanced trainee whose first rep and last rep are the same as far as recruitment.

    This is a learned response/adaptation that takes place over time. Learning to recruit larger motor units for strength performance is a skill set developed and refined over time. Advising someone to train very low reps with a lot of external resistance is a mistake because their systems, nervous systems, have not adapted to that level of quick and sustained motor unit recruitment so by only doing 3, 4, 5 reps they don't recruit many fibers to stimulate growth.

    Also don't think heavy or light when it comes to the weight you use think of whether its challenging in whatever rep range you use.So don't strive for more weight or reps that will come over time, strive for more muscle activation during a set.

  13. #63
    Wannabebig Member DavisK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Cress View Post
    5c) BB shrugs 3 x 10-12, 275 lbs
    Hey Allen great article! This journal has been very interesting! You are a machine! Anyways, I noticed that you had BB and DB shrugs at the end of a tri-plex during your Back day. What is the reason for that? Don't shrugs target the traps mainly? Wouldn't that be more applicable during your Shoulder day?

  14. #64
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavisK View Post
    Hey Allen great article! This journal has been very interesting! You are a machine! Anyways, I noticed that you had BB and DB shrugs at the end of a tri-plex during your Back day. What is the reason for that? Don't shrugs target the traps mainly? Wouldn't that be more applicable during your Shoulder day?
    Remember ur traps go from the neck down the back so they can be trained with delts or back. Also the overall design of the program makes a difference. There is always more than one way to do things. This is where the art of program design comes in. As long as the principles r still applied.

  15. #65
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    Bulking Diet

    Her is the Bulking diet I will start after my week off training. I will increase calories even more when needed.

    Meal 1:
    2 cups egg whites
    3 shredded wheat biscuits
    1 banana
    1 tbsp natural peanut butter

    Meal 2:
    5 scoops Maximus

    Meal 3:
    200g Chicken
    2 cups rice

    Meal 4:
    200g Chicken
    2 cups rice

    Meal 5:
    200g extra lean beef or 2.5 scoops Nitrean
    100g pasta or large bag mini rice cakes

    Meal 6:
    2 cups egg whites
    2 shredded wheat biscuits or fruit

  16. #66
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    nice, thanks for posting that up, allen. my attempted diet is very similar to what youre doing atm. so do you keep that exactly setup persistent throughout the week or do you still do "refeeds" or days of elevated calories? I supposed that would depend on where you are relative to your projected maintenance. where do you think you are right now in terms of calories reqd?

  17. #67
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by f=ma View Post
    nice, thanks for posting that up, allen. my attempted diet is very similar to what youre doing atm. so do you keep that exactly setup persistent throughout the week or do you still do "refeeds" or days of elevated calories? I supposed that would depend on where you are relative to your projected maintenance. where do you think you are right now in terms of calories reqd?
    With this diet I will not have a whole re-feed day. I will only have 2-3 meals on my off day(Saturday) not on my plan.

    Right now I am estimating I am about 1000 cal under maintenance, which is why I have 1 and half day re-feeds.

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    wow 1000 kcals under maintainance, that must be tough days to get trough, of course the loading days in mind I believe it's possible to do, eric

  19. #69
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by POWERZN View Post
    wow 1000 kcals under maintainance, that must be tough days to get trough, of course the loading days in mind I believe it's possible to do, eric
    Its not tough at all because of the re-feeds. Energy is high all week. I am just hungry on most days but that doesnt bother me.

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    doesnt being 1k cals under defeat the purpose of a bulk? maybe there is some detail in what youre doing that im not understanding.. i dont see how a 1.5 day refeed can overtake an effective 5.5k weekly deficit before the refeed.. yes youre eating hard.. but most of those excess cals are literally going to waste. am I missing something?

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    Wannabebig Member DavisK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by f=ma View Post
    doesnt being 1k cals under defeat the purpose of a bulk? maybe there is some detail in what youre doing that im not understanding.. i dont see how a 1.5 day refeed can overtake an effective 5.5k weekly deficit before the refeed.. yes youre eating hard.. but most of those excess cals are literally going to waste. am I missing something?
    Allen is currently in a 1K cal deficit with the 1.5 days of refeeding. This doesn't apply to his bulking diet.

  22. #72
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    Thanks for providing all of the info you have. It's a great thread.

    With your bulking diet do you add sauces to your chicken, rice or breakfast?

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavisK View Post
    Allen is currently in a 1K cal deficit with the 1.5 days of refeeding. This doesn't apply to his bulking diet.
    this makes more sense and is pretty obvious in hindsight hah, i still dont understand the point of the deficit for an offseason diet though.

  24. #74
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by f=ma View Post
    doesnt being 1k cals under defeat the purpose of a bulk? maybe there is some detail in what youre doing that im not understanding.. i dont see how a 1.5 day refeed can overtake an effective 5.5k weekly deficit before the refeed.. yes youre eating hard.. but most of those excess cals are literally going to waste. am I missing something?
    I am not currently on a bulking phase. The cycle diet is used to add lean mass slowly while staying lean. A bulking diet which I will start after my week off will keep me above maintenance everyday.

    Also you can't break it down to a 5000 cal a week deficit, the body doesn't work in such a black and white manner. Also its more like 700 cal to be a little more exact. But as my body becomes more efficient at using fuel maintenance levels change which is why listening to my bio-feedback is the best way to assess and move forward.

  25. #75
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b_chest31 View Post
    Thanks for providing all of the info you have. It's a great thread.

    With your bulking diet do you add sauces to your chicken, rice or breakfast?
    I always use ketchup, splenda, Walden farms condiments, sea salt, mustard, and all kinds of spices all year long even during contest prep.

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