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Archive for the ‘Exercise/Workouts’ Category

More Results, Less Time – The Workout

Posted by Joel Marion on July 19, 2009

Last week I hit you up with 3 time-saving workout strategies, including antagonistic supersets, big-money exercises, and strategic overlap.

Today, I’m back with the full workout program I promised combining all three.

Each of these workouts takes less than a half hour to complete, all while instantaneously increasing strength and stimulating each muscle group multiple times per week.


Monday (Horizontal Upper Body)

A1) Dumbbell Bench Press
A2) Seated Rows

Tuesday (Quad Dominant Lower Body)

A1) Back Squats
A2) Lying Leg Curls

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More Results, Less Time – Part II

Posted by Joel Marion on July 15, 2009

Boom-shaka-laka! I’m back!

Yesterday I hit you up with a killer technique for saving time in the gym while enhancing the effectiveness of your workouts (see antagonistic supersets), and today, as promised, I’ve got two more time-saving, results-boosting strategies for you.

Here they be:

1. Utilize “Big Money” Exercises – Big Money Exercises (aka compound movements) are exercises which cross multiple joints and recruit multiple muscle groups simultaneously, making their use an extremely efficient way to train.

Take for example the bench press.

Bench pressing, be it with dumbbells or a barbell, works the chest, triceps, and anterior deltoids (front of the shoulder). Five sets of 10 repetitions of the bench press at a moderate tempo may take somewhere around 12 minutes to complete.

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More Results, Less Time

Posted by Joel Marion on July 14, 2009

After hitting snooze about five times yesterday morning (nothing like starting the day off with 45 minutes of procrastination), I quickly realized that a trip to the gym prior to my 10 a.m. appointment simply wasn’t going to happen.

No worries, though, I gots my trusty Powerblocks® here at the house and very rarely do my workouts run longer than a half hour anyway.

You see, I’m able to get killer workouts done in just 30 minutes for a number of reasons, one of which is a technique called antagonistic supersets.

Let’s break down the term.

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A Radically Effective Training Technique

Posted by Joel Marion on June 24, 2009

I’m just getting back from busting my butt in the gym with some Insider Contrast Training!

Insider wha?

Have no fear, I’m about to GIVE you all the details in today’s blog post.

The Technique: Insider Contrast Training

Where it came from: Insider Contrast Training was developed by French sport scientist Gilles Cometti and popularized in the western world by my good friend and Canadian strength Coach Christian Thibaudeau.

What it is: Insider Contrast Training is a unique method in which a particular training variable is manipulated during the course of a set.

Below are two of my favorite Insider Contrast Training protocols:

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The Full SUPER Supersets Workout

Posted by Joel Marion on March 18, 2009

On Tuesday I told you about a pretty cool technique I’m currently using in my training called SUPER supersets (or at least that’s what I decided to “name” it :-) in which I am utitlizing both antagonistic and post-fatigue supersets within the same workout.

And today, as promised, I’m back with the full workout, right on down to sets/reps and muscle pairings.

Check it out:

Day 1 – Hip Dominant Legs & Shoulders

A1) Deadlift supersetted with Lying Leg Curls [12 reps each; no rest between sets]

Rest 45 seconds.

A2) Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press supersetted with Lateral Raises [12 reps each; no rest between sets]

Rest 45 seconds.

Repeat the above sequence 5 times.

Day 2 – Chest & Back

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New Workout – SUPER Supersets

Posted by Joel Marion on March 17, 2009

Guess who’s back?!

Me, that’s who! :-)

That’s right, yesterday marked my first day back in the gym after my much needed week off, and in case you can’t tell, I’m seriously excited to get back to regular training! (looks like my week off did exactly what it was supposed to do, eh?)

So today, I’d like to celebrate my return by sharing with you a really cool technique I used in yesterday’s workout called SUPER supersets.

So what’s a SUPER supset?  Well, nothing official, but rather a name that I more or less just came up with to describe a technique in which you combine two different superset techniques:  Post-fatigue supersets and antagonistic supersets.

If you have no idea what that means, don’t worry, I’ll explain.

When you hear the term “superset” in regards to weight training, it generally refers to performing two exercises for a particular muscle group back to back (with little or no rest inbetween) in order to maximally fatigue the muscle group in question.  This is an example of post-fatigue and isolated failure as we discussed in our last post.

A great way to use post-fatigue supersets is to start off with a big, multi-joint movement (for example, the bench press) and then “superset” that movement with a smaller isolation exercise (i.e. dumbbell flyes) to ensure maximal stimulation and fatigue of the target muscle group (in this case, the chest).

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3 Intelligent Ways to Use “Failure” In Your Training

Posted by Joel Marion on March 15, 2009

In the second part of our discussion on training to failure, we talked about several very important things.

For starters, we cleared up the ambiguity surrounding the term “failure” and established a simple, clear-cut definition of the term.

Alas, we were all on the same page.

At that point, we went on to discuss the pitfalls of regularly training to failure, including the extreme stress these techniques place on the central nervous system.

The end result: overtraining, burnout, skipped workouts, extreme fatigue, and an overall lack of results. Not exactly the type of things you’d hope to generate by “giving it your all” in the gym.

And that’s the point−training hard without training SMART leads to nothing more than a bunch of futile, wasted effort.

That said, training to failure isn’t all bad, and in fact there are several “intelligent” ways to use the technique to get you the results you’re after, faster.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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When You SHOULD Terminate Your Sets

Posted by Joel Marion on March 12, 2009

In Part I of our discussion on training to failure, I asked you a question:

“When do YOU terminate your sets?”

In the comments section of that post, you responded.

The consensus?

There wasn’t one. I mean, not even close.

Replies ranged from the very conservative “when the speed of movement slows down” (which I think is bogus, and I’ll provide my thoughts in another post) to the much more extreme use of “forced” reps (having a spotter assist you to complete more repetitions, as “the kid” from my previous story reluctantly had me do for him) on a regular basis.

Needless to say, due to the wide range of replies, this is an area that is an area that most here could use some clarification on, and that’s exactly what I plan to give you over these next few posts.

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When Do YOU Terminate your sets?

Posted by Joel Marion on March 9, 2009

Last Monday I was at the gym performing my regular “Monday” squat workout.

There are several reasons why I choose to squat on Mondays (I also squat at least one other time during the week as well), but the major reason is that everyone else seems to be working chest on this day.

Walk into any gym across America on a Monday and I can almost guarantee you that every bench press station will be occupied, along with just about every flat bench to boot.

For whatever reason, Monday has become the “unofficial” day to work chest nationwide.

And while I don’t really understand why, it works out just fine for me as the squat racks are never occupied (let’s be honest, they’re hardly ever occupied, but on Monday there’s even less of a chance).

So there I am, Audioslave pumping on my iPod getting ready to start my second set of wide-stance squats and someone taps me on the shoulder.

“Would you mind giving me a spot?”

The kid was probably about 18 years old, maybe 150 lbs.

And even though I genuinely hate to be interrupted while working out, I’m still a nice guy, so I agreed to give him a hand.

And yes, he was bench pressing.

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Your Ultra-Easy Stress Test

Posted by Joel Marion on March 5, 2009

Okay, so here’s the deal. Yesterday I went to the gym and before I even had the chance to mix my workout drink, I was out the door.

Why?  Simple:  I straight up didn’t want to be there, so I left.

You see, every so often I’ll go through a period of time when my motivation to exercise is severely lacking. I’m sure you’ve experienced it, too−despite generally looking forward to your workouts, you get to the gym and just loathe the thought of going through with the next 30-60 minutes.

My advice: leave.

Now, before getting into a more “scientific” explanation for my recommendation, let’s first examine what’s most practical.

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