I made it. 8 weeks. I am an anal-retentive, checklist and chart kind of guy. It’s how my mind measures progress. Yes, as you can imagine from an outsiders point that can be a bit annoying. But, I feel this is the most effective way to measure my progress and tell to what extent that progress was. So all you you free-spirited detractors who like to make stuff up on the fly can go screw……
My first two weeks on the program, were by far the most/least productive. By most, I mean where all my lifts went up pretty nicely week after week. Great for the ego I tell you! However, I say least because even though I spent time determining my rep ranges before I started, there was still some guess work in a few areas during the first two weeks, and I feel I may have been a little low on my guesswork.
So here is what it was. A three-day split. At least one day off between lifting days. Cardio was okay on those days, but noting crazy. For each workout, no more than three sets per exercise. And I used the reverse-pyramid technique. That means I did my heaviest set first, followed by two sets of progressively lighter weights and higher rep ranges. My first set was 4-6 reps, then 6-8, then 8-10.4-6 reps might not seem like a lot, but we are talking about my 6 rep max. So proportionally, it is heavy. When I would max out at 6 or more my first set, I would up the weight for the next workout. How much depended on how well I felt hitting 6 reps. For the second and third set I dropped the weight around 10% each.
There were some weeks, I would blast out six reps and be able to move up for the next workout. There were a few weeks where I had increased the weight and really struggled but got close to six. And there were a couple of times that I was stuck at a particular weight and just couldn’t progress at all for a week or two. Oh well, shit happens.
I did swap some exercises out along the way. I shit-canned dumbbell shoulder press for barbell shoulder press. Dumbbell upright rows gave way to the barbell version. Standing calf raises fell by the wayside in week 5. Hell, my calf muscles are strong and big enough, and I wasn’t getting anywhere. Plus I needed to shave off some time from that workout. So it was a work in progress, but it was still a productive work in progress.
Here are some starting and ending factoids:
Bench Press ( 6 rep max)
Started: 175 Ended: 225 +50 lbs.
Barbell Back Squat (6 rep max)This has historically been my strongest lift.
Started: 275 Ended: 365 +90 lbs.
Dead lift (6 rep max)
Started: 250 Ended: 325 +75 lbs.
I only listed these three, because I feel they give the best overall picture of my results. Yes, it is basically the power lifting total. No I am not a power lifter, but it’s a good tool. I also saw pretty good progress on pull-ups and tricep dips that I am really pleased with. Did I gain a lot of size? I don’t think so. But I didn’t really measure anything beyond waist, so it’s hard to say. There are SOME noticeable size gains, traps, biceps, quads, etc. but mostly because I know my own body and how my clothes fit. I by no means got huge though. After all, muscle growth is a by-product of strength gain.My waist however did shrink about 2 inches, so that is a plus. That’s more due to nutrition than anything, but adding lean muscle mass does make it easier. If you are starting form a higher percentage of body fat, the fat you are losing all over your body is replaced in part by lean muscle mass. Fat is more voluminous than muscle, so if done right you shrink faster than you grow (women, take note….it’s another reason to strength train)
Monday, the cut down begins in earnest. Not a strict fitness model/body builder type cut. Those are usually for a show or a photo shoot, and are not really sustainable long term. This one will be more long-term effort. I will be coming back to hypertrophy again in the future. I like it too much to pass up.
That’s about it. I welcome any feedback. It will only be used to improve the program for next time. Until then, keep tracking, have a program (or at least a goal), keep training.