I know you are into bodybuilding or you wouldn't be on this site (I'm pretty smart, aren't I?). So I'm sure you have heard of Chad Waterbury. Chad was a former bouncer, now he's still a muscle head, personal trainer, and a science geek with a master's degree from the University of Arizona, with a focus on neurophysiology, which is the study of how the central nervous system works in conjunction with muscle movement.
Most of you know about him from the many articles he has written on T-Nation, an online bodybuilding site. He's been writing for that site since 2000, so he's been around for awhile.
One of Chad's articles on T-nation got my attention. He suggested instead of doing 3 sets of 10 reps, the bodybuilding standard, why not flip it around and do 10 sets of 3 reps, but use heavier weights?
This Chad Waterbury Huge in a Hurry book review can be summed up as follows: Lift heavy stuff fast.
Chad explains: "Muscle fibers come in different sizes and have different roles. But your body always uses them in the same order, with the smallest fibers going first and the biggest fibers only going into action when you absolutely need to generate all-out strength and power for a single, isolated action".
Lifting heavier weights, and attempting to lift them fast (while staying in control of the weight), will stimulate the most muscle fibers, which is exactly what you want to happen during every lifting session.
Heavier weights are the best tool for building muscle mass. However, you can't stay on this routine forever; because when it comes to exercise routines- everything works, and nothing works indefinitely.
The book has 6 phases called: Get Ready, Get Big, Get Even Bigger, Get Strong, Get Even Stronger, and Get Lean. You go at it hard and heavy for four weeks, then the fifth week is an "unloading" week where you still workout, but you do lighter weight for 10-20 reps.
Most of the routines last around 16 weeks, and all are full body routines. Why full body routines? Because you stimulate more muscle mass in every workout.
When you push and pull in every workout you help maintain your body's balance. And when you use compound movements to balance out your pushing and pulling, you work all your body's muscles the way your body wants them worked: as a coordinated system. Here's a sample routine. (opens with PDF reader).
The routines in this book are suitable for beginners as well as advanced lifters. The difference is the "way" you lift. Gone are the straight sets and reps. Chad doesn't believe in counting reps in the normal fashion, such as 3 set of eight reps and your done. Instead he gives you a target number of reps per exercise depending upon your goal. He doesn't want you to stop a set because you've reached a set number of reps.
If your goal is to get big, you do a total of 25 reps per exercise. If you have picked your starting weight correctly, this might take you 4 or 5 sets of four to six reps to finish the exercise. But, if you picked a weight incorrectly, it might only take you three sets to do 25 reps, and then you know to increase the weight by at least ten percent next time.
Another routine in the book Chad calls "HFT" or High-Frequency-Training. This is also a chapter in his book, and probably the most eye-opening (at least for me). Here Chad challenges the long held belief that muscles need to recover 48 hours before there worked again.
While in Vegas, Chad watched two brothers (alexisbrothers.com) perform in a Cirque do Soleil show Mystere were the brothers performed acrobatics and feats of strength. The brothers performed five nights a week, with two performances a night, along with daily practice. This performance was basically a full body workout, so that's 10 workouts per week, plus daily practicing! Are they overtraining? These two dudes are ripped! Check out this YouTube video of the brothers at the 2008 Arnold Classic. Watch it until the end when one brother hamstring curls the other:
Arnold Schwarzenegger also used his own version of HFT. When his calves were small (by his competitors standards), his instincts told him to train them more, such as 30-45 minutes a day, 6 days a week.
These chapters are worth mentioning. Most exercise books cover nutrition, but most hardly ever mention mobility and stretching.
Chad takes nutrition and really simplifies the process: Forget counting calories; count grams of protein only. Simple.
The sections on mobility and flexibility include sample warm up drills before working out and more stretching drills after your work out is over.
Now I know this has nothing to do with bodybuilding, but since I'm a technical writer in real life and publish many manuals, I have to say the presentation quality of this book is outstanding! Full color glossy pictures for every exercise, warm up and stretch.
I was somewhat skeptical that one could enter and exit a gym, do four exercises and walk out in about twenty five minutes, three times a week, and have any hope at all of gaining any strength or size.
Was I ever wrong! I just completed the 16 week Get Big program and went from 155 pounds to 175 pounds! And that is twenty pounds of MUSCLE, evidenced by the fact that my waist line did not increase one iota!
My fellow employees and friends are telling me that I am starting to look like a Marine! But the most amazing fact? While this book is targeted to people between the ages of about 15 and 40, I achieved these gains at the age of 60!
I will start another 16 week program in a few more days and cannot wait to see what I can achieve.
I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to maximize his workout time and achieve real results.
In fact, I think the title should have been; "How to maximize your gym workouts," because that is exactly what one is doing.
Fast lifting, total body workouts, frequent workouts and steadily increasing the weight are ideas that Chad has found to be productive with his own clients. With all of the routines, reps and rest variations in this book, your body will never plateau or adapt to a work out.
I feel like I purchased a great personal trainer for my home gym for only $20!
If you are looking into buying Tony Horton's p90x workout program, go to 90DayReview.com for reviews.
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