Stage II: muscular development.
Once you graduated from Stage I, we dare you to do a different divided routine with more volume- you will workout the whole body in three different trainings instead of two as you have done in the previous weeks. This is what we call ‘Pull-push’ system. Day 1 will consist on chest, shoulders and triceps, as well as abs; on Day 2 you will workout back, biceps and forearms; on Day 3 you will train waist and legs. Dividing the body into thirds, you can train more intensively and add more volume.
Because of this, you will need more recovering time, so by now you will workout each muscle only once a week. You will notice that as intensity and volume increase, frequency is gradually reduced. This is a main component on a well designed program which avoids stagnation point to emerge, as it provides the essential resting period for the stimulus that leads to muscular development.
Weeks 7 to 12.
If you have to train Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, that’s not bad, but it would be better to do it on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Following a divided routine let us train the way we prefer, and so we can give a break to the ‘pull’ muscles while we workout the ‘push’ ones or vice versa.
The exercises included on this stage are usually performed with free weights, which imply doing one’s best regarding style, since bars and dumbbells require us to stabilize the weight without a machine’s help. The amount of exercises per muscle has increased, and repetitions will be within 8 and 12 (except in calves, lower back and abs, which should be around 12 to 15). If you achieve the twelfth repetition without much effort, increase the weight; if you can’t get to the eighth, cut it off a little bit.
As you will be using major loads, the resting periods will be a little bit longer, between 45 to 60 seconds. You will complete the training in less than an hour.
Beyond our guide.
Once you have overcome this 12 weeks period, we have to congratulate you. But this does not mean the time to relax has come. You have just established the base for a serious training, so do not put out the spark that inspired you. The key for a successfully program is consistency. Getting the physique you want will take a time.
Roma was not built in one day. Weight lifting, keeping in shape and following a healthy diet is for ever. Focus on your mid-term goals and visualize where you will be in a two, five or even ten years’ period. Creating good habits and a healthy life style begins right now. Let us open the path for you. The rest is up to you.
Warming up and cooling down.
Two of the most overlooked aspects of the training program, the warming up and the cooling down, are your tickets to reducing injuries and decreasing twinges.
THE WARMING UP
The first thing people use to do when arriving to the gym is stretching. Stretching is a critical part of the warming up, but it must not be done at first. Follow these lines, in order, to start training well:
1) Light aerobics (5 to 10 minutes): you can do them on any machine, regarding you keep up them for at least five minutes and with an intensity that allows you to break a sweat. The aim is to raise body temperature and gradually prepare the body for intense exercise.
2) Stretching: we must never stretch before doing warming-up aerobics, since cold muscle has little elasticity. We recommend you to stretch the whole body, despite bodybuilders do not use to do this with the muscles they are about to train. In any case, the first six weeks you will train the whole body. After that, you will choose.
3) Warming-up sets: before starting your training, do 1 to 2 sets of an exercise with lighter weights and more repetitions than in your working sets. For the ‘push’ days, a couple of bench press sets will be enough; for the ‘pull’ days, pulley pulls or rowing; for legs, any press or squat form. For the trainings of Stage 1 a set of each is recommended.
THE COOLING DOWN
Its purpose is to make the body go through from the training intensity to the resting state. It will be similar to warming up: 5 to 10 minutes of moderate aerobics and another 5 to 10 of stretching. Never think warming up and cooling down are equal to aerobics, which must be more intense.
Training again after a break.
You used to train hard but you have quitted for a while. This time we do not talk about weeks, but months or even years. Now you want to come back, but before using the same weights you used on your golden years, read attentively the lines below. First, good news: despite you may have forgotten what a gym is; your muscles still remember it.
That little thing called muscular memory means your muscles instinctively know what they have to do to be in shape again. That won’t happen from night to day, but you will do it faster than someone your age that has never touched a dumbbell. In any case, and depending on your absence period, give yourself a couple of months of serious training before you recover your previous levels of strength.
Another thing you have to take care is the propensity to nuisances and injuries, something you will come across if you want to start with an advanced routine. Your muscles and ligaments have got accustomed to being sedentary, and a drastic increment of activity could result traumatic. Act carefully.
There is where our beginners program comes into action. Follow it for the next three months and you will see how you feel. If your muscles ask for more after that period, accept the challenge of adding more volume and exercise. Don’t hurry; take these twelve first weeks to readapt your body. Once you have achieved it, the sky is the limit.
That’s how muscles grow.
¿How do muscles grow? Good question. We assure that if you lift weights, you eat and rest, muscle will be developed. It is true, but this statement is supported by science. It is important to know what happens underneath our skin, that way you will have more possibilities that your muscles grow. That’s how it happens:
YOU LIFT WEIGHTS AND YOU HURT YOUR MUSCLES: Continuous contractions and stretches of the muscles produced when we lift weights cause injuries in the muscular tissue. The protein filaments, called actin and mioxina, which make your muscles contract, suffer microtrauma; microscopic cracks in the fibres that induce the twinges we feel after a hard session of training. Don’t be afraid, is not as bad as it seems.
MUSCLES RECOVER WITH REST: As a response to the damage caused by weights, the muscular fibres react rebuilding themselves. But instead of growing to the previous point, those fibres produce more actin and mioxina and, as a result, they develop. This process is called hypertrophy.
WITHOUT THE ADECQUATE RESTING, MUSCLES DO NOT DEVELOP: Inducing minor muscular cracks is one thing: excessively weight lifting and not providing enough resting time to the body is completely different. Muscular fibres start repairing themselves a few minutes after suffering the damages and the process can last a couple of days. If we damage the muscles and do not give them the resting time they need, they will not have time to develop. That is why we should never train the same muscular group in two consecutive days.
PROPER NUTRITION MAKES THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS EASIER: Each body process, including the reparation and development of muscles, requires energy (ATP). Energy is synonym of calories, so to provide our muscles the indispensable ATP for its growing, we must eat. Here we find the protein. Do you remember the protein filaments, actin and mioxina, which are produced to create bigger muscles? Its development requires the presence of aminoacids, which proceed from the consumed protein. You should take enough, approximately 2 daily grams per kilo.