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• Request for research and an article on your banging site. www.bodybuilding.com/fun/irontamer5.htm Is the 20-rep squat routine real or bull? Pat.

• Hello Fraser I have been going to the gym for about 7 or 8 months now doing mostly weight training. I have seen good results in improvements in strength and muscle, but I am a thin build. I have broad shoulders and seem to have a kind of dip in my chest, is there any exercises that can improve this? I do alot of bench press and usually do 4 sets of of 10 reps of 60kg which I have worked my way up to. I have also started doing dumbbell press and chest flys but none of these exercises seem to improve this problem. Im not sure if it is postural or just the general shape of my shoulders and chest. If you know of any exercises to improve the middle area of the chest i would be very greatful to hear back. Cheers Ross Chisholm






Request for research and an article on your banging site. www.bodybuilding.com/fun/irontamer5.htm Is the 20-rep squat routine real or bull? Pat.   ^

Answer:

Pat,

It’s a very good question. The answer of course is that it does exist and is real; however, I think what you are asking is if the programme delivers the results claimed in the above link:

  • Most people can reasonably expect to be squatting their 5-rep max (5RM) for 20 reps by the 6-week mark.”
  • “Every successive training session you add 5-10 lbs to your squat weight. It has been touted as one of the most effective programs ever designed for adding muscular size and strength in a short period of time, and with good reason; it works!”
  • “I am going to outline a 6-week program that has put slabs of muscle on everyone who has ever followed it. It is time to stop living in Tiny Town. This is your ticket to Hugeville.”

 

 With wording like the above, I’m ready to get hyped up and under the bar! That said, FMT is all about providing you with science and experience so that you can make the best decisions when it comes to your own training. Before we checkout what science says, let’s use me as an example…

My current 5RM (five rep max) full back squat is 140kg. Now the article gives you a starting weight of 70% of your 5RM: 100kg for me.  With the aim of putting on a minimum of 2.2kg with every session (it’s 3 sessions a week for six weeks). It is very manageable for me to hit 20 reps of full back squats with 100kg; however, do I think my body would allow me to perform 20 reps (executing good form) with 115kg on the Wednesday of week 3? No. I would give it a good go and perhaps come close, but I think it would be naïve of me to predict that the last 5 reps wouldn’t turn into more of a good morning than a back squat.  Keep in mind that I am a intermediate weightlifter (my definition of an advanced squatter is somebody that can full squat twice their body weight) and beginners will make gains a lot quicker than me, making it feasible that someone could  turn their 5RM into their 20RM in six weeks. I’m sure I’d make gains with the 20 rep squat programme, but not so much that I could make my 5RM turn into my 20RM.

 This programme focuses on strength endurance for gains in size and strength; it is training one specific movement and would be part of an ‘endurance phase’ of linear periodization (this is a term for planning training). The problem with this type of periodization is that every four to six weeks you focus solely on training one element of fitness (in this case leg endurance). For example, you train for a month of; endurance, a month of hypertrophy, a month of strength and then a month of power. The problem is that this type of model has one peak. Furthermore your abilities are not maintained (maybe you train your  endurance for a month, but two months later when you are finished your strength phase can you perform the same sets and reps with the same loading you used at the end of your endurance phase?).

Now let’s look at what the research tell us. It’s a fact that a nonlinear periodized training programme produces quicker and more gains in strength compared to linear periodized or non periodized programming (Montiero et al, 2009). The study I’m referring to involved taking 27 strength trained men that had equal maximal strength in upper body and lower body movements before starting the study. They were then split into three groups and trained for 12 weeks following the three different types of periodization mentioned above. Each participant was tested after 4 weeks, 8 weeks and 12 weeks of training. What I find most notable is that the nonlinear periodization group showed significant strength gains each and every time they were tested, whereas the other groups did not. The linear periodized group did show an increase in strength after 8 weeks of training (double the time that the nonlinear group took to make gains) but no more gains were made after week 8. This helps prove my theory that if a trained individual tries the 20 rep squat programme they would see gains, but certainly not as quickly as they could do with a more rounded regime and probably not significant enough to turn a 5RM into a 20RM.

 

So what is the answer? What will put slabs of muscle on you and what really is one of the most effective programmes ever designed for adding muscular size and strength in a short period of time?  Well, we’ve identified that nonlinear periodization is a good way of organizing your training for gains in the short and longer term: So consider programmes that train different aspects of fitness in the same mesocycle (4-6 weeks). This is also known as the conjugate method of training and is utilized by the best strength and conditioning coaches in the world.  Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for linear periodization and specialization programmes (remember they usually have a peaking point) and if we’re looking at achieving something over a course of a year or further then it’s a good way to go. That said, I think most of us non Olympians would see better results with non linear periodization.

 

Okay so with all the above I’ve probably knocked your confidence of looking up general training programmes and trying them out, and who am I to challenge the status quo without offering a better alternative!

Here is the link to a programme that utilizes the conjugate method. This was designed for the masses but if executed correctly produces great results. Designed by Joe Defranco, it is one of the great training programmes out there.

 

Good luck,

 

FM

 

 

 

Reference

Monteiro, A. G. et al. (2009). Nonlinear periodization maximizes strength gains in split resistance training routines. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Vol. 23 Issue 4, p1321 6p.







Hello Fraser I have been going to the gym for about 7 or 8 months now doing mostly weight training. I have seen good results in improvements in strength and muscle, but I am a thin build. I have broad shoulders and seem to have a kind of dip in my chest, is there any exercises that can improve this? I do alot of bench press and usually do 4 sets of of 10 reps of 60kg which I have worked my way up to. I have also started doing dumbbell press and chest flys but none of these exercises seem to improve this problem. Im not sure if it is postural or just the general shape of my shoulders and chest. If you know of any exercises to improve the middle area of the chest i would be very greatful to hear back. Cheers Ross Chisholm   ^

Answer:

Ross,

Specializations programmes are best for bringing up a 'lagging' body part. This involves training the muscle that is perceived to be progressing slower than the rest with medium volume and high frequency. That said, there is only so much you can do to shape your body due to genetics. Like you said, it's only been 7/8 months so we've got a long way to go before we worry about genetics stopping growth.

Bodybuilders will say to bring your hands in close to hit the inner pecs but my immediate advice would be to get stronger and add some bodyweight (I'm assuming your "thin build" means you have low body fat levels and find it difficult putting on weight). Once you are lifting some big weights in the bench press we can talk about a specialization programme. So turn the 4 sets of 10 reps with 60kg into 80kg. This will mean working a lot on your pecs (making them fuller and probably filling the gap) and your back!

The upper back plays a huge role in the stabilizing the bench press movement and it is crucial to develop the back for shoulder health. It will allow you to make gains in the bench press – helping with the pec development. Further than that, once you've got a big back it will pull your chest into a more stretched position when relaxed - giving the appearance of bigger pecs without even trying.

So there you have it: No narrow grip specialization for you! Keep working hard and keep adding muscle to your frame. I recommend:

·         Bench Press and variations (floor press/ board press/ incline press)

·         Press up variations (with bands or chains/ on barbell/ suspended)

·         Seated Row Variations (D handle/ pronated grip/ neutral grip)

·         Weighted chin ups

Remember to retract your shoulders when performing bench presses and back movements.

You know how to reach me if you need some advice with how to bring it all together and when to specialize.

FM






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