Free E-book Forum Specific Routines Full Body Attack

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    As regular readers of this forum know, physical progress has always been a problem for me using any training regimen at any intensity, volume and frequency level; on any diet. Only if I totally quit for a while do I see improvements in strength, size, or body composition, which occur the first two months after starting back. Well, with all that's been going on with my job, I've not really quit, but I've not really been focused either.

    I've been kind of winging it lately, which is better than not training, because at least I'm staying in shape and have kept most of my strength. I've certainly not been making progress though and my diet and body composition has suffered somewhat.

    I'm starting a round of full body attack. That's the one program that I've had the most success making progress in the past, but I've not done it very long due to an injury that occurred to my lower back not long after starting. I don't tend to improve on the third or fourth set of each exercise in successive iterations, but I do tend to improve on the second set (first after warm up) of twelve reps to failure. It seems that I can inch up the weight most interations, but that after spending maximum effort on that first set, I'm lucky to get eight reps with the succeeding set with the same weight. As the weight I can handle goes up for that first real set, the succeeding reps go down, so I'm not really improving past that initial burst.

    Anyway, although I can't seem to progress as the ebook prescribes on successive sets on any exercise, at least I do see some progress, which is good for me. I recently tested myself on dumbbell chest presses. I started with sixty pounders. After two workouts, I could do twelve reps. I then went to sixty-fives. On the second workout, I did twelve. I then went to seventies and that's where I stalled; I started being able to grind out eight reps; then nine and stopped there.  With full body attack, I can apply this regimen to everything and possibly make progress at most exercises, at least for a while. With the presses, I should have found some one-pound plates and split the difference of the increase after I stalled.  This may be the key for continued progress.

    I plan on doing this routine at least until I stall for a couple of weeks on most exercises. The only thing I change on Darrin's specifications is that I spend a time or two getting used to the exercises at moderate effort. I don't go all out the first time or two, because I get too sore to function at work. This extreme soreness seems to have no long-term benefit, so I take it slowly at first at exercises that I've not been doing beforehand.

    I'm not sure why, but alot of the strength programs, like a 5X5X5 or Darrin's 6X6X6 don't do alot for me. In theory, this should help me handle more and more weight at low reps, but it doesn't. Maybe after a good deal of time improving my 12-rep max weights, I can move on to one of these and see progress. Last time I was doing full body attack, I had my dip weight increase at the twelve rep level to the poundage where I had previously been doing for six reps, so I did get stronger like a strength routine; not just more muscle endurance. 



    Maybe you are actually doing a little too much weight, it may seem do-able, but since you are straining too hard you probably lose a bit of control.



    Cameron said:

    Maybe you are actually doing a little too much weight, it may seem do-able, but since you are straining too hard you probably lose a bit of control.

    I'm assuming you're referring to the strength programs. Yeah; that may be it. I've tried doing semi-heavy weight (not to failure) of five or six reps of fairly high volume and very strict form; like four or five heavy sets, but I still can't manage to increase the weight over time, unless I start cheating on form, which is really not progressing.


    After my first session of FBA, here are some of the results. As you will see, I start out strong (that is strong for me), but I quickly lose strength and muscle endurance. Looks like I chose about the right weight to start each exercise. I precisely timed my rest times @ 90 seconds.


    Set two (first real set) 15lb dumbbell strapped with a leather lifting belt–12 reps–failure.

    Set three 15lb dumbell — 5 1/2 reps to failure

    Set four 15lb dumbell — 5 reps to near failure


    Bench Presses:

    2nd set (first real set) 145lbs–eleven reps–failure

    3rd set 145lbs–5 1/2 reps–failure

    4th set 145–3 reps–near failure


    Overhead Press: *maybe started a little light, but I knew I wouldn't have the strength I usually have on this movement, since I had just completed bench presses, so it was a guess.

    2nd set (first real set) 70lbs.–12 reps to near failure

    3rd set–70lbs.–8 reps to failure

    Did not do a 4th set, as I've not been doing this exercise regularly and didn't want to over do it on the first go around.

    I went ahead and began the program with Yates Rows, side laterals / calf raises supersetted, since I've been working out. I kept my strength pretty well, but could not move up in weight as prescribed.

    As you can see in the OHP numbers, after the first pull set (chinups) and the first push set (bench press) my strength does not continue to deteriorate. Once I do that first set of chinups to failure to twelve reps, then all succeeding upper body pulling movements are severely weakened. Same with upper body pushing. After the first strong set of bench presses, I'm weakened about the same throughout all succeeding pushing movements.

    I didn't include examples of RDLs and F. Squats, because I don't experience muscle failure in leg movements. With deads and squats, it's more a matter of pulmonary exhaustion with anything over six reps if I'm moving all I can. The more I move up in weight, the more I'm likely to cheat form, so  I'm just kind of easing back into it so as not to pull a muscle or cause cardiac arrest.



    It seems as though (from what I can tell) that the larger muscle groups just don't have the endurance.  Maybe because you are older than I am, and probably a bit of the other readers as well.


    Try adding another 15 seconds onto your recovery time.  As you said, you don't have GREAT genetics, so the 15 seconds might make all the difference in the world.  Just because you added the 15 seconds doesn't mean you are cheating.  It means that you are working with your capabilities.



    Another thing that I see time and time again, related to what Cameron mentioned, is people starting a new routine at too high a weight.  Now, we always have to qualify any advice with “it depends on your goals, your current condition, etc. etc.”.

    But it's almost always better to start a routine using weight lower than you can really do – maybe 10% to 20% lower.  And stopping at the target rep count, even if you can do more.  Then, the next week, increase the poundage in a really small amount (so in other words, even in week 2 you are doing less weight than you can really do).  Keep progressing in tiny amounts (even as low as 2.5 pounds per week).  Under this approach, most guys end up blowing past previous maximums.  It takes a little longer than you might want, but you don't stall until well after you've reached a new maximum.  And of course, understanding your local (between rep) and systemic (between workouts) recovery is important too.



    Great advice *high fives Darrin*



    Good advice Darrin. I'll try reducing the weight and just going to twelve on the first set.  If I continue to lose strength after the first set, I'll add Cameron's advice and try increasing the time by 15 seconds. It's noteworthy too that, although I've been consistently working out, I've been doing a lot of lazy working out. At times I've taken 3-5 minutes between some of my sets, so I may do a little better once I get back in prime shape.

    Thanks for the help.

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