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Old 07-08-2010, 06:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Best type of Supersets and Programs

Hi Everyone,

Quick question here. I want to take my weightlifting program to the next level to reduce bodyfat and increase strength all without bulking up. Right now, I'm doing casual (i.e. no formal program) anabolic (push-pull) supersets of the major muscles groups (mainly because I find it intense and it cuts my gym time in half).

I want to get a little more formal with my regime, so I've checked out several sources. Jillian Michaels "Making the Cut" does not recommend anabolic supersetting since it's more for bodybuilder types. However, Arnold's "Bodybuilding Bible" states that anabolic sets are good for everyone (those who want to reduce overall bf without bulking up, those who want to increase muscle, and those who are going for competitions). Ideally, I would like to increase my strength and stamina before I move onto a crossfit like program. I'm soo confused.

Does anyone have a solid regime for decreasing body fat, building strength, and not bulking up at the same time?? Or is it just personal choice -- different strokes for different folks? Or is it just a case of starting out crossfit but at an extremely modified level?

Thanks!
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I use a program called turbulence training.

First off I have a question. Are you a woman?

Many women worry about bulking up when starting weight training, but this is just a common misconception. Womens bodies are not really capable of bulking up the way a mans is. Look at Jillian for instance, she weight trains multiple times a week but she doesn't look like a hulk.

I wouldn't worry about bulking up.

There are also some things to consider about weight training.

High intensity low rest period weight training like doing super-sets with minimal rest is more conducive to fat burning.

To bulk up you have to up the weight and rest period, because its important to always be adding weight and have adequate rest for your next lift so that you can perform it without limitations.

A simple way to structure your workouts is to use spreadsheets, and create two workouts that you alternate each time you are there, and do six of each of the two workouts before you create two new regimes, but you always want to keep variety a part of your program.

For you I would use the superset method: 2 non-conflicting lifts performed consecutively with no rest, followed by a 1 minute rest period. For instance, squats followed by chest press, then 1 minute rest x3. I do three of these super-sets per weight training session followed by a 20 minute interval program on the stationary bike.

Last edited by midwestj; 07-08-2010 at 09:45 PM.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midwestj View Post
To bulk up you have to up the weight and rest period, because its important to always be adding weight and have adequate rest for your next lift so that you can perform it without limitations.
I would add that to bulk you would also be doing very high repetitions along with moderately heavy load. If you were to go extremely heavy but drop the reps to 3-5 per set you would create an environment in your body conducive to building lean muscle, which is imperative for fat loss.

The distinction here is important. Bodybuilders don't go for lean mass building because it doesn't add sheer size as fast as bulk training does. Note that I'm not talking about adding fat, but bulk muscle. In other words, bodybuilders don't just want to build new muscle tissue (lean mass) but also want the new muscle to absorb as much water into its cells as possible (bulk muscle mass), creating that blocky look most of us don't desire (look at pics of Arnold during his golden years). That requires moderately heavy weight, high reps, and long rest periods, repeated ad nauseam.

Other than that, midwest has got some solid advice and I also think supersetting is a great time-saver in the gym. If you start to plateau (which, if you're just starting out, shouldn't be for a while), you can always mix things up by supersetting opposing muscles (push vs pull), heavy vs light load on same muscle group (heavy rows 5 reps followed by light rear flyes 12 reps), or even movement vs. opposing stretch (biceps curl followed by triceps stretch, rest, then vice versa).

Good luck!
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My rules:
1) eat real food - more vegetables, moderate meat, moderate fruits, less grains, less sugar, less vegetable oils.
2) exercise - moderate intensity cardio, sprinting, heavy lifting, dedicated stretching and mobility.
3) live - relax, de-stress, meditate.

Disclaimer: I'm not professionally qualified to make any formal recommendations. I've just done my homework and I'm my own guinea pig. All of my data, unless otherwise cited, comes from a sample size of n=1 (me).
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I forgot to mention: Having your workout on a spreadsheet is really helpful. You will never be confused about what lift you need to do, and you can accurately record your reps and the weight you used. It helps me make sure that I am completing all my workouts, doing all the reps, and increasing weight each week or couple of workouts. For me its really the next best thing to a personal trainer.
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:16 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice and ideas! I haven't even thought about "heavy vs light load on same muscle group (heavy rows 5 reps followed by light rear flyes 12 reps)", "movement vs. opposing stretch (biceps curl followed by triceps stretch", or "2 non-conflicting lifts".

Yes, I am a female, and I will definitely use a spreadsheet now. (I'm sitting at my PC trying work on a spreadsheet as I'm writing this.) Ideally, I would love to have the musculature of Jillian Michaels (but she advocates circuits with minimal rest in between each circuit) or Jackie Warner. Both are still hard body, yet maintain a soft and feminine look. However, I'm sure that they are way below my goal of 19% bf.

I still have a couple of more questions though! Okay, here I go.

1. Numbers of sets: 3 or 4 (first one as a warm up at about 40-50 of max rep)? Is it beneficial to have that warm up set?

2. Pyramids and Reverse Pyramids: Should you use these regularly, or just a shock routine? Good for creating the lean, hard body look OR for bulking up?

3. Do you think it would be too confusing for the body to have one day as push-pull, another as non-conflicting muscles, and another as heavy to light? I think I might be tripping up over myself on trying to figure this out. hahha. Maybe I should alternate using the different techniques every two-four weeks.

Lately, I've been warming up on the elliptical for 10mins, and then supersetting chest and upper back, biceps and triceps, leg extensions and curls, squats and straight-legged deadlifts. Shoulders I do separately (injured shoulder). Lunges (not done on leg extension and curls days), calf raises, abs and back extensions are also done separately. I do the full body 3x/week and I really don't want to increase the days. But, I am open to upping it to 4x/week. Am I missing any major group?

Thanks again!
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Old 07-09-2010, 06:07 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You might consider moving from a full body workout to a split routine where different muscle groups are worked on different days. There are some examples of split routines here: Forget Steroids: 5 Full Body Workouts For Serious Gains | Muscle & Strength. This could allow you to perform your weight lifting in a shorter time and add some HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) cardio to help with your weight loss goals.

I also recommend you check out Bodybuilding.com for more workout information.
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Old 07-10-2010, 03:06 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks all for the advice! I really appreciate it. The bodybuilding site has a lot of info on it that satisfies my curiosity.

****

midwestj,

I checked out TT -- it's what I was looking for. Seriously, thanks for the tip. I've never heard of it, but I've always wanted to do some kind of functional bodyweight training. I tried CrossFit before, but dang... it beat me up completely (and finding access to rings was next to impossible). TT looks more like my style -- it integrates HIIT, functional bodyweight training, and supersets. Plus, it removes the need to personally structure effective workouts that hit all areas (leave it to the experts!). (I kind of sound like a commercial here.) Any way, I'm starting the beginner workout tomorrow.

***

Nik/tandoori,

I finally understand what you were saying about the heavy weight - low rep. I spent a couple of hours researching it.. Thank god for that. Hahhaa. Last thing I want is to add bulk.

Last edited by iceland77; 07-10-2010 at 03:11 AM.
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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iceland,

You seem to be a reader, and I can appreciate that since I'm one too! In that case you might want to check out EliteFTS. They are essentially a retailer of powerlifting equipment and gear but they are also a gym and have an article section that features pieces by both men and women who have been training and coaching for dozens of years. There's also advice on training for a variety of sports as well as more in-depth technical articles on biomechanics and physiology, but even those are explained well enough to at least get the gist of it.

A lot of the women who train there are ridiculously strong, way stronger than me, but they really don't look like she-hulks. Some of them are quite cute if I may say so. And they completely shatter this bulking myth that's going around in my opinion. You might like it.
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My rules:
1) eat real food - more vegetables, moderate meat, moderate fruits, less grains, less sugar, less vegetable oils.
2) exercise - moderate intensity cardio, sprinting, heavy lifting, dedicated stretching and mobility.
3) live - relax, de-stress, meditate.

Disclaimer: I'm not professionally qualified to make any formal recommendations. I've just done my homework and I'm my own guinea pig. All of my data, unless otherwise cited, comes from a sample size of n=1 (me).
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Old 07-12-2010, 03:07 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I am a reader... Hahhaa... I try to get as much info as I can on everything. I think I might be borderline obsessive with it though. But, I enjoy the science and mechanics behind the different methods.

New Favorite sites (not in any particular order):

1. (not a site, but a good program) Turbulence Training
2. Stumptuous.com
3. Bodybuilding.com (especially the before and after pics under the transformation section: Bodybuilding.com Writer: Female Transformation Of The Week - How Much Have You Changed?)
4. Elitefts.com
5. Figure Athlete - Women's Figure Athletes

Going by the above, I know for sure what direction I want to go. New plan: cut off weight and bf% through interval training and TT weights program, then concentrate more on perfecting my muscles. (However, not to the point of figure/fitness competition models. And I refuse to eat 5-6 meals a day. I am considering taking creatine when I start concentrating more on building strength as opposed to losing weight - who knows?) Plus, I want to use big-girl weights and do pull ups (good article for accomplishing that: http://www.stumptuous.com/mistressin...ullup#comments).

It feels good to have a clearer picture of both my process and goal.

Last edited by iceland77; 07-12-2010 at 03:12 AM.
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Old 07-12-2010, 06:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hey Iceland I hope you enjoy the TT program, its not your average bench press workout and it definitely kicks your butt. I think all the compound lifts are great for burning fat and leaning out. And like you said it leaves the thinking out of it for you so you can focus on training intensity. Stick with it!

Good Luck!
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