Off-Season Muscle Building Part III - The Lifts

author : Ron
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I assume you will have a school gym to workout with weights, so this is similar to what I did:

Day 1: Chest, Back
Flat Bench - 15, 10, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8
Incline Bench - 15, 10, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8
Dumbbell Bench - 15, 10, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8
Wide Grip Pullups - 5 sets as many as you can each
Some type or Row - Upright or Machine - 15, 10, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8
*Machine is easier on your back and strict, though Bent over rows is more of a power movement.

Day 2: Legs, Triceps
Squats - 15, 10, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8
Narrow Grip Bench - 15, 10, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8
Dips - 5 sets as many as you can each

Day 3: Shoulders, Biceps
Military Press - 15, 10, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8
Dumbbell Press - 15, 10, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8
Barbell Curls (straight or EZ curl bar) - 15, 10, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8
Alternating Dumbbell Curls - 15, 10, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8

SET COMPOSITION
First set of 15 is warmup, second set of 10 is a moderate warmup.  The last 3 sets are your work sets.

So for the bench as an example, start out with just the bar and do 15, add a 25lb plate to each side and do 10, then just add a 45 plate to each side for your work sets (not the 25's too).  ONCE you can do the work sets 3x8 times, it's time to add more weight next week you lift- Barbell exercises you can add 20 pounds total at a time (10lb per side) - Dumbbells 5-10 lbs at a time per dumbbell when you add weight the next week.

CHOOSING BARBELL WEIGHTS
For Barbell exercises, I like to keep a 50lb total difference between Warmup 1, Warmup 2 and the 3 work sets, so as in the Bench example, 50lb total for Warmup 1, 100lb total for warmup 2, 150lb for the work sets. When you go up in weight, go up in all 3.  So next time it would be 70lb, 120lb and 160lb.  With Militaries, the 50lb spread may end up starting as a 10-20 lb spread between sets as those are tough.  Example, 50lb warmup 1 (the bar), 60lb warmup 2, 70lb for the work sets. 

CHOOSING DUMBBELL WEIGHTS
For dumbbells and bicep barbell (straight bar or EZ curl bar), the spread is much smaller since the muscle groups are smaller - so for instance on alternating bicep curls you would warmup 1 with 20lb dumbbells, then 30lb for warmup 2 then 40lb dumbbells for the work sets.  Even go up in increments of 5lb to start if it's difficult.

REST
Rest is about 45 seconds to 1:15 between each set.

SPOTTER
The biggest factor in your lifts will be a spotter.  You WILL NOT get the growth you want if you don't have a spotter to push you...to help you get that last rep out...THEN to help you get another rep out when you think you can't.  It means that much. You especially need a spotter on the Power movements like Bench Press, Incline Bench and Military Press.  You really need to go to fatigue on the last 1-2 work sets.  Putting on muscle is all about shocking your muscles out of complacency.  You can even have a spotter on wide-grip pullups where the person lifts you by your legs/feet.

*If you don't have a spotter on narrow grip bench, try to do this in a cage with bars setup to 'catch' you if you can't complete the last reps.

HEAVY DAYS
At least once a month, 1 week should be devoted to a 'heavy week' to further shock the system.  Instead of 15, 10, 6-8, 6-8, 6-8, do 15, 10, 5, 2, 1, 1, 1 definitely with a spotter.  I would keep 'heavy' weeks limited to the Barbell exercises where you go down to one rep...for dumbbells you can do something like 15, 10, 4, 3, 3, 2-3.

FOOD
Immediately after you workout have a big cup of milk with one scoop of whey protein.  Follow the nutrition video.  The key is to eat 5-6 times per day.  Chicken is important.  Every day I roasted a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the oven before work and split them up and ate them during the day.  Plus a good carb source (baked potato, etc).

As a triathlete, you will have to evaluate yourself how heavy to go on squats.  They will add a lot of mass and are a power movement, but your legs will be shot for any type of running/biking (due to fatigue) - I would still do squats but scale the top end of the work sets back on weight - no heavy days either, don't go to fatigue. 

The other upper-body lifts will interfere with your swimming, since you are in the off-season, swim 1-2x per week for maintenance.
 

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date: October 20, 2008

Author


Ron

I started this site 10 years ago after doing my first triathlon in 2001. My goal for this site is to get people healthy and happy. I firmly believe that triathlon is the best 'sport' for your body as it has less impact then the more popular single sport(running) while incorporating your upper body from swimming allows for a balanced-body approach to fitness.

Author

avatarRon

I started this site 10 years ago after doing my first triathlon in 2001. My goal for this site is to get people healthy and happy. I firmly believe that triathlon is the best 'sport' for your body as it has less impact then the more popular single sport(running) while incorporating your upper body from swimming allows for a balanced-body approach to fitness.

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