Mother Nature Providing Sick Gain Conditions

Over the past few weeks Canada has been getting hit with some cold weather, and with that came the snow.  This miserable weather provided us with some heavy disgusting snow, and for many Canadians, it ruined parts of their day.  They had to spend minutes of their day cleaning snow off their cars and wait for them to warm up.  They had to dust off the snow blowers from last year to clear snow off the driveway.  They even had to use their phones to call in to their places of employment and ask to work from home because the commute was so treacherous.  For those of you thinking of us in your prayers, thank-you, we do appreciate it.

But while my countrymen were complaining about these conditions, as a gym bro, I was seeing nothing but potential for some sick gains.  You see, I don’t just go to a gym.  The world is my gym.  You put me anywhere on the planet and I guarantee you I’ll find a way to get a pump.  Some call me crazy for this, but they called Steve Jobs crazy too.

When mother nature gave us this thic white power my heart started racing (snow not cocaine).  Being the visionary I am, I saw potential for several juicy pumps to be had, let me explain them to you.

Triceps Pump: This snow was wet.  It wasn’t that winter wonderland lets have fun with the whole family kinda snow.  It was the gross, I’m all wet, let’s slip on the neighbour’s sidewalk and sue them for all they have kinda snow.  But the wetter the better when it comes to the triceps pump.  Pushing the snow with your shovel activates the triceps.  The action of pushing then lifting the snow works the various branches of the triceps.  Only problem is I’m not coordinated enough to push with my left hand, only the right.  So, my right arm got the pump and my left didn’t.  But it doesn’t bother me being a little lopsided.  I mean I rather be lopsided than small.

Ab Pump:  I don’t even know if this is a thing because I can’t see my abs.  So, I guess you could call it core activation instead.  Pushing the snow, lifting it up on the shovel, and dropping in on the neighbour’s driveway requires tons of core activation.  It was an entire core workout.  Rotating with the snow on my shovel works the oblique and lower and upper abdominals.  Talk about some sick gains.

Bicep Pump: Load the shovel with snow and get to curling.  Curling a shovel with snow on it is like curling in the squat rack.  It’s unnecessary, but I do it anyway.  I’ve often thought the best workouts are the ones you use your whole body for.  And by whole body I mean arms.  Get the bicep pump, then stand back and admire your veins.

Cardio Pump?:  I think it would just be cardio since I guess your blood is always pumping.  Burn some calories and get a sweat going then sleep like a baby knowing you’ve done your one cardio workout for the month.

Good Deed pump: Be a good citizen and shovel your neighbour’s driveway.  You get the gains for yourself, and even if they didn’t ask you to do it, they will owe you one for it.  You can call this chip in whenever you need.  Oh, the boys are “being too loud” and it’s a “Wednesday” night.  Remember that time I shoveled your driveway?  Yah boys the party is still going.

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 34: Pull Day

Warmup:

  • Stair climb for 5 minutes
  • Shoulder and back stretch with bands

Workout:

  • Lat Pulldown: 100 for 15, 115 for 10, 130 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Lat Pull Machine (one arm at a time): 50 for 15, 60 for 12, 70 for 10, 80 for 6 for 3 sets
  • Chin Ups: 10 for 3 sets
  • V Bar Row: 45 for 15, 90 for 12, 115 for 8 for 3 sets
  • V Bar Seated Cable Pull: 40 for 15, 50 for 15, 60 for 10, 70 for 6, 80 for 6 for 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Row (dropset): 70 for 8, drop to 40 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Seated Curls: 25 for 10, 30 for 8, 35 for 4 for 2 sets
  • Concentration Curl Dropset: 25 for 10 then drop to 15 for 10. 3 sets per arm
  • Hammer Curl: 30 for 10 for 3 sets
  • Reverse Grip Curls (ez-curl bar): 30 for 12 for 3 sets
  • Curl Line: 30 for 4, 25 for 6, 20 for 6, 15 for 8, 12.5 for 5 (regular curl, hammer curl, bottom half curl, full curl, full curl)

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 29: Pull Day – Milestone Reached

Today I hit a new 1 rep max on the deadlift.  I pulled 315 for one.  It wasn’t very clean and took some time to get up, but at the end of it, I got it done.  315 is three plates on each side.  It is a heavy deadlift and is often thought of as the divider between the boys and men.  When your deadlifting, with most average people, you can pull your body weight plus a little extra.  This is why it is common to see people pulling 150-250 in the gym.  This is the natural strength range for most people even when working out.  But to get to pulling 300+, it’s like asking what’s the difference between $100,000 and a million dollars.  There is a ton more work that needs to be put in.  You need to have a strong foundation with no weaknesses.  A strong core, hamstrings, back, grip strength and impeccable mechanics are needed.  This was a huge milestone in my journey and one that I was proud to have reached.  Here’s to starting the journey to four plates

Warmup:

  • Stair climber for 5
  • Lower body static stretch

Workout:

  • Deadlifts: 135 for 10 for 2 sets, 185 for 10, 225 for 8 for 3 sets, 245 for 4, 255 for 4, 275 for 3, 295 for 2, 315 for 1
  • Lat Pulldown: 100 for 15, 115 for 10, 130 for 8 for 3 sets, 145 for 3
  • Lat Pull Machine (one arm at a time): 50 for 15, 60 for 12, 70 for 10, 80 for 6 for 3 sets
  • V Bar Row: 45 for 15, 90 for 15 for 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Row: 60 for 10 for 3 sets
  • Seated Curls: 25 for 10, 30 for 8, 35 for 4 for 2 sets
  • V Bar Seated Cable Pull: 60 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Reverse Grip Curls (ez-curl bar): 30 for 12 for 3 sets
  • Curl Line: 30 for 4, 25 for 6, 20 for 6, 15 for 8, 12.5 for 5
  • Lower Back Extension Machine: 220 for 15 for 4 sets

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 26: Pull Day

We’re here to get it today with this pull day.  I’m excited to get started on this new workout split.  It will be a challenge and something my body isn’t used to but that’s why I’m excited.  I want to keep challenging myself in the gym because that’s what leads to growth.

To have success with this I am going to need to buckle down on the diet.  When doing a regimen like this, recovery time is going to be tight.  My macros must get dialed in and make sure I am getting the grams of protein that I need for recovery.

Warmup:

  • Stair climb for 5 minutes
  • Shoulder and back stretch with bands

Workout:

  • Deadlifts: 135 for 12 for 2 sets, 185 for 10, 225 for 8 for 3 sets, 245 for 6, 255 for 6, 275 for 3, 295 for 2, 225 for 6
  • Lat Pulldown: 100 for 15, 115 for 10, 130 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Lat Pull Machine (one arm at a time): 50 for 15, 60 for 12, 70 for 10, 80 for 6 for 3 sets
  • Chin Ups: 8 for 3 sets
  • V Bar Row: 45 for 15, 90 for 12, 115 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Dumbbell Row: 60 for 10 for 3 sets
  • Seated Curls: 25 for 10, 30 for 8, 35 for 4 for 2 sets
  • Concentration Curl Dropset: 25 for 10 then drop to 15 for 10. 3 sets per arm
  • V Bar Seated Cable Pull: 60 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Hammer Curl: 30 for 8 for 3 sets
  • Reverse Grip Curls (ez-curl bar): 30 for 12 for 3 sets
  • Curl Line: 30 for 4, 25 for 6, 20 for 6, 15 for 8, 12.5 for 5

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 24: Arms

When I work arms, the most important set for me is the last one.  This is when I pick a workout at I know will burn my arms and make them feel like they’re falling off.  I like doing a curl line as my finisher because it can be done with light weight and it’s about getting the reps in to complete the burn.  This type of finisher works your bicep and forearms to give you that last pump before you walk out of the gym.  If you’re doing this at the end of a workout, remember to try and stick with your form.  Swinging to get the weight up won’t get you the arms you want, so if need be, lower the weight or pause to make the reps solid.

Warmup:

  • 5 minutes on stair climber
  • Shoulder stretches

Workout:

  • Close grip chin-up and close grip dumbbell floor press superset: Chin ups till failure then superset with 40’s for 8 reps. 3 sets
  • EZ-Bar Curl and decline skull crusher superset: 60 easy curl bar for curl till failure then drop to 40 for skull crushers till failure. 3 sets
  • Rope Hammer Curl and Rope triceps pushdown superset: Dropset with weights on rope curls then superset with 40 for pushdown till failure. 3 sets
  • Inclined Curls: 22.5’s for 15, 25’s for 10, 30’s for 6, 35’s for 4
  • Hammer Curls: 25’s for 12, 30’s for 8, 35’s for 4
  • Concentration curls: 25’s till failure (slow and feel contraction)
  • Curl Machine: 85 for 5 then drop to 30 and hit each arm individually
  • Concentration Curl Machine: 40 for 8, slow and focus on stretch and contraction
  • Curl Line: 30’s regular curl for 8, 25’s hammer curls for 8, 20 half curl for 8, 15 reverse curls (forearm) for 8.  Repeat 3 times

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 20: Were Back for Back Day

We were back at it again with another back day, and boy was I excited to walk into the gym.  I had taken three days off to heal a sore neck which was starting to feel much better.  This time to let my neck heal also gave my body three days to heal as well.  I walked into the gym feeling strong and rested.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to give it 100 in the gym today because I didn’t want to aggravate the injury, but it was a sign I was headed in the right direction and was ready to get back at it and get a sweat going.

I always start with back day because I like to think of myself as different from all the other gym rats.  Monday signals the start of the work week, and the workout week.  Monday’s have been decreed as International Chest Day at every gym across the globe.  Since I like being unique and don’t like waiting 45 minutes for a bench, I do back on Monday and chest on Tuesday (normally).  This simple observation on bench wait times has changed my life and lead to tremendous gains that would have otherwise been missed.

The workouts I’m going to be doing will be changing soon.  I have been following the bro split for the past couple months.  For those who don’t know, the bro split is when you do chest one day, then back, then arms, then legs, then shoulders and you repeat this. This is great for foundation building and getting back into it, but it is easy to plateau and hurts your gains over the long haul.  In my workouts, next week, I will be switching to a different style of workout.  I will be switching to a pull day, a push day and leg day.  This split works multiple muscle groups per workout, but gives less time off for each muscle group, which is better for gaining strength and will better serve me in achieving my goal.  Muscles will be activated more often, and not left to sit for 7 days after they are done their workout for the week.

Warmup:

  • 8-minute stair climber to get the blood flowing
  • 5-minutes stretching to get shoulders loose

Workout:

  • Lat pulls 100 for 15, 115 for 10 for 4 sets
  • Lat pull narrow reverse grip 100 for 10 for 3 sets
  • Chin Ups: 8 for 3 sets
  • Aussie Pull Ups: 15 for 3 sets
  • T-Bar Row: 90 for 15 for 2 sets, 135 for 6, 115 for 6 for 2 sets
  • Seated Cable Row: 45 for 20, 50 for 15, 60 for 8, 70 for 8 for 2 sets
  • Dumbbell Shrugs: 60 for 15 for 3 sets

Take Away From Workout:  By the end of my back days I am noticing that my grip strength is shot.  Now this is normal for intense workouts, but I am noticing that when I am doing my lifts that my grip isn’t the strongest, and I’m cradling the weight when I should be gripping it hard.  I narrowed this down to my forearm strength.  Moving forward, to avoid injury and not plateau with my back days and deadlifts, I will need to work on my forearms to build their strength up.  It’s funny how these secondary muscle groups can affect your bigger lifts in such a large way.

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

Day 12: Arms

Today was about those glamour muscles.  It might be late November but were prepping for beach season with this workout.  Working out arms is a fun time for this guy.  Once you get that bicep vein showing like mine has been lately it puts motivation in front of you in the form of a mirror.

Part of why so many start working out and then trail off is because they don’t see results and get discouraged.  They can feel the results of a workout, the fatigue, the soreness, and the tightness, but they don’t see any results.  The reality is that it takes weeks if not months to start noticing visible differences with your body.  If your able to push through the first few weeks and then start noticing visible changes in your body, it changes the game up completely.

This ties into an earlier post and the importance of visualization.  When the results haven’t come yet, you need to rely on the vision that you have set for yourself.  This vision will dictate how long you’re in the gym, how hard you’re working, what you’re eating, even how you spend your time out of the gym.

Once you make your first set of gains and the mirror verifies this transformation, it motivates you.  In a way, it makes things easier, because you have proof that you’re closer to your goal.  Each rep and set you do now brings you closer to achieving your vision and you can see each workout bringing you closer to your goal.

Warmup:

  • 10 minutes of stair climber

Workout:

For this workout, I followed a men’s health routine I saw online which I don’t normally do but I do like changing up my workouts from time to time.  I must say this workout had my arms feeling pumped after the workout, but I thought it was a bit short.  A few more finishing exercises could have been thrown in there at the end, but that’s just one man’s opinion.  I did like how they included a video of every exercise so you know how to preform each movement.

  • Close grip chin-up and close grip dumbbell floor press superset: Chin ups till failure then superset with 40’s for 8 reps. 3 sets
  • Zottman curl and eccentric overhead triceps extension superset: 25’s for 8 then superset with 20’s for 12. 3 sets
  • EZ-Bar Curl and decline skull crusher superset: 60 easy curl bar for curl till failure then drop to 40 for skull crushers till failure. 3 sets
  • Rope Hammer Curl and Rope triceps pushdown superset: Dropset with weights on rope curls then superset with 40 for pushdown till failure. 3 sets
  • Flexed-Arm Carry complex and Plank Walkup Superset: 15’s for carry then superset to plank. 3 sets
  • Inclined Curls: 22.5’s for 15, 25’s for 10, 30’s for 6, 35’s for 4
  • Hammer Curls: 25’s for 12, 30’s for 8, 35’s for 4

Johnny

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”

 

Day 4: Biceps

Today was gun day.  Every now and then I like to focus a day on the guns and see what kind of pump I can get out of them.  There’s nothing quite like the euphoric of seeing a bicep vein for the first time.

For this workout, instead of freestyling it like I normally would, I followed a routine from one of my go to Youtube idols.  Phil Heath is a 5 x Mr. Olympia and he’s not shy about putting his routines up on the tube.  This workout is great for anyone looking to get a nice arm pump in before heading to the beach or to a shirtless party.  For this workout, I didn’t even count reps really, more or less just went to failure.  Follow the workout that Phil outlines and note what weight you get up to with your low rep sets.  The max I got up to in the workout was 35’s with the rep range of 4-6.  With arms, you don’t need to lift heavy which is a common mistake.  Pick a weight that is comfortable and focus on the stretch and contraction.  Better form means a better pump.

Johnny,

Soon to be “Johnny Two Plates”