Thursday’s Workout – Pull

  • Chin-ups* (BW=159 lbs + 62.5 lbs), 3 sets x 5 reps
  • Barbell Row (170 lbs), 2 sets x 12 reps
  • Shrugs (240 lbs), 2 sets x 12 reps
  • Cheating Barbell Curl (125 lbs), 5 sets x 3 reps


* I could do 5 reps on the first set but only 4 and then 3 on the last two sets. I am not frustrated with this failure as it is the first. I have gained almost 10 lbs in the last week since the contest. If it wasn’t for the weight gain I might have had no difficulty with the increase in resistance. I an going to drop my rep range down to 3 and continue adding 2.5 lbs each workout as normal. My goal is to hit 100 lbs so I would rather ensure I end up being able to pull 100 lbs for reps before focusing on any muscular endurance at this point.


Wednesday’s Workout – Push

  • Weighted Dips* (BW=158 lbs + 75 lbs), 2 sets x 15 reps
  • Partial Rep Bench Press (235 lbs), 4 sets x 5 reps
  • Shoulder Press (110 lbs), 2 sets x 12 reps
  • Close-grip Bench Press (150 lbs), 2 sets x 12 reps


* This is the first time I have used a backpack. The world record is set with with the weight in a backpack. I did 17 reps on the second set. I believe if I was fired up and wasn’t so sore I could have done 2 sets of 20 reps.

Tuesday’s Workout – Pull

  • Chin-ups* (BW=156 lbs + 60 lbs), 3 sets x 5 reps
  • Barbell Row (165 lbs), 2 sets x 12 reps
  • Rack Deadlift** (205 lbs, 275 lbs, 370 lbs), singles
  • Shrugs (235 lbs), 2 sets x 12 reps
  • Barbell Curl (90 lbs), 2 sets x 12 reps


* I wore my headphones on the first set which got in the way. As a result I had difficulty on the first set. The second set was easier however I will know to never were headphones again. I also gained a large amount of weight since competing in the Fall Classic this past weekend. I am eating sodium again and my body has quickly retained water. I also woke up around 4 AM this morning and had my first coffee. Perhaps I should have slept more then 5 hours but I don’t think it is always necessary to have rest in order for your body to perform.

** Failed on the 370 lbs. I pulled hard for at least three full seconds. The weight felt almost as if it was about to give. The good news is that I can pull like this without a weight lifting belt three times a week and never have any back problems. In fact I believe that it is this kind of regular pulling that keeps my back strong and injury free.

Upper Body Giant Set

If you only have a limited time to workout or want to add in a few extra sets to pump up at the end of a regular workout then here is the program you have been waiting for.

This giant set only requires the use of a light barbell and can be repeated as often as you like to achieve the desired effect – screaming muscles with bulging veins.

Do one warm-up set with an empty bar and than add whatever weight you need. I recommend starting with 65 lbs and then add more each consecutive set until you reach failure.

Sets using submaximal weight can be performed slower and focus given to contracting the muscles fully throughout the full range of motion – plus posing between sets.

This workout will pump the shit out of your arms and is an excellent tool to flush the muscles to enhance recovery on off days. The workout alternates push/pull exercises allowing antagonistic muscles to recover between sets while continuously taxing the cardiovascular system.

Upper Body Giant Set

  • Front Lateral Raise x 10 reps
  • Upright Row x 10 reps
  • Shoulder Press x 10 reps
  • Biceps Curl x 10 reps
  • Triceps Extension x 10 reps
  • Reverse Curl x 10 reps
  • Push-up x 10 reps

Depending on the weight you use you might have to cheat a little in the front lateral raise and reverse curl by using body momentum. Triceps extension are also another difficult exercise however partial reps can be used to accommodate a heavier weight.

Best advice is to not focus on the amount of weight lifted but try to complete all reps speedily, recover for the next set, and repeat 3 or 4 times.

This is not a cardio program. Giant sets are used to create a super pump in the muscles. Pumping blood into the muscles vasculates the muscle tissue resulting in hypertrophy.

Training Volume – How Many Sets and Reps?

The number of sets and reps depends on your goal: strength ranges from 1 to 5 reps, muscle size 6 to 12 reps, and endurance 15 to 25 reps.

If only if it was this simple. Powerlifters train in the rep range of 1 to 5, bodybuilders 6 to 12, and all other endurance athletes train in the high reps range of 15 reps and beyond.

Based on the principle of specificity this is true, but only to a certain degree. As an advanced athlete you begin to reach a level where gaining anything is hard to do and seldom occurs. Elite athletes often need to train outside of normal boundaries to reach new levels.

For example, an elite powerlifter might have to deadlift in the 20 rep range for awhile in order to further increase their strength boundaries. Likewise, a bodybuilder that typically trains their back with high rep lat pull-downs and seated cable rows can greatly benefit from heavy low rep deadlifts.

Regardless of the rep ranges you choose, having a quantified number of sets and reps provides an invaluable way to measure training volume.

High volume programs based on sets and reps provide an easy way to manipulate training volume. German volume 10 x 10 and Vince Gironda’s 8 x 8 are extreme examples of high volume routines. Nevertheless, these volume programs yield a quantified amount of work completed. The result is a training variable that can be manipulated.

For example, if you are accustomed to bench pressing 150 lbs for 5 sets x 10 reps, the total pounds bench pressed in a workout would be 7,500 lbs . The total work done or workout volume is measured in total pounds lifted.

If the number of sets is reduced to 4 sets the total pounds lifted or work done is halved to 6,000 lbs. The total work has been reduced, creating a the need to increase other training variables such as intensity. To balance this deficit, intensity can be increased by adding 5 or 10 lbs to the lift.

The reduction in volume can be offset with an increase in intensity – lifting a heavier weight. This juggling act between volume and intensity can be repeated over time – the end result is a training cycle.