Real World Training

By: Brian Wiefering
Featured Training

From BMJ #9

I needed to refocus. After more than fifteen years of lifting and competing for ten, I’d forgotten why I was doing it. I’d forgotten what it was like to train until I saw stars, or hugged the toilet. I guess that the thought of being some star fitness model, or to get a contract with a supplement company, or to win the overall in another show was clouding my thinking.

Bodybuilding for me is really about training until I’m about to pass out--or throw up—then going back for more. It’s about walking under the squat rack, not knowing if I’ll get the weight up or if my partner’ll have to pick me up. It’s about watching Pumping Iron at least once a week for motivation. It’s about skipping the exercises I like, and doing the ones I hate, because I know the hardest exercises will produce the most results.

Now I’ve got my head on straight again. I’ve gone old school – back to the basement. I haven’t been in the gym since August of 2005. (Yeah, I know there are a couple of gym photos accompanying this article. They were taken March 20, 2005 after the Northern Kentucky Bodybuilding Championship. The basement photos were taken at Marty’s Tuesday night, January 24, 2006.) You can see that the only equipment that we have are a squat rack, adjustable bench, arack of hex dumbbells, and barbells.It’s squat until you drop. It’s “dead lift until you’re dead”. It’s calf raises with my partner Marty on my backholding a few 45lb plates with Ozzycranked in the background and noone to interrupt my workouts.

Brian in Marty’s basement
I’ve had some of my best workouts in years at Marty’s basement.

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Skull Crushers For Triceps

Tuesday evening, 9:30 p.m. . I finally got the kids to bed. My favorite show, Boston Legal, starts in thirty minutes. Every part of me wants to lie on the couch and watch Alan Shore (Spader) and Denny Crane (Shatner) do their thing! But, instead Marty’s dark, dingy, cold basement awaits me. We were supposed to do arms this morning, but I had to go in to work earlier than usual.

As much as I want to shove the workout off until tomorrow, it would be a sin to waste a perfect day of nutrition and supplements. I head for the pantry and mix my two scoops of Creatine Select and Glutamine Select with about 16 ounces of water to sip on during my workout. Uh oh, I forgot to take my Muscle Synergy and 7-Keto. It takes about thirty minutes for it to take effect so I call my lifting partner, Marty to let him know that I’m gonna be about thirty minutes late. I tell him why, and he thinks I’m crazy. But then I offer to let him try my special Creatine Select / Glutamine Select “cocktail” if he’ll come up to my house for a few minutes. Marty knows he’ll have to wait anyway so he walks up to my house and I give him eight Muscle Synergy to take now and a shaker with Glutamine Select and Creatine Select to sip during our workout. We sit down and catch the first few minutes of Boston Legal while we wait for the Muscle Synergy to take effect.

You might think it would be really hard to get off the couch at this point, walk down the street to Marty’s basement, and train. 10:10 p.m., my show has started, but I don’t feel like I did 40 minutes ago. My blood’s pumping and I’m looking forward to some serious Tri’s and Bi’s training.

Tonight we’re going heavy. In fact, it’s going to be a rather lengthy workout. And if you were watching us, you’d think we were doing too much talking and not enough lifting. And guess what? We are! In fact, I remember times at the gym before I took it to the basement, when people would say to me, “You’re not growing by sitting around and talking”. What they didn’t know was that I was purposely resting 4-5 minutes between sets. Funny thing was, usually their next comment was, “What do you do to get your arms so big?”

Think about it. The longer you rest between sets, the more weight you’ll be able to lift each set. And the more weight or resistance you use, the more deep muscle tissue you are going to hit! Now don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely important to mix things up and maybe next arm workout I will speed things up for more of a “burn” each set. But not tonight. We start with Barbell Curls.

Two warm-up sets and then 4 sets of 8 as follows:

  • Bar X 40 reps
  • (to get the blood in the muscle)
  • 10 reps at 95lbs
  • 10 reps at 115lbs (4 minute rest)
  • 8 reps at 145lbs (4 minute rest)
  • 8 reps at 155lbs (5 minute rest)
  • 8 reps at 145lbs

On my third (work) set of 8 reps at 155lbs, I really have to swing it to get my last rep up. So, I rest a good 5 minutes and drop the weight 10lbs for my last set. It was perfect. I got all 8 reps in pretty good form. No, I don’t have a crazy pump yet, like I would if I was only resting a minute between sets, but then again, I wouldn’t be curling near the same weight.And my arms aren’t burning – it’s more like a deep ache!

Skull Crushers. Just like biceps, we do a few warm-ups, and then 4 sets of 8 with 4-5 minutes between sets. We use the EZ curl bar, and..

Here’s what we do:
25 reps at 75lbs
15 reps at 105lbs
8 reps at 120lbs (4 minute rest)
8 reps at 125lbs (4 minute rest)
8 reps at 140lbs (5 minute rest)
10 reps at 120lbs

Just like biceps, I was feeling pretty darn strong. But, my set of 140lbs for 8 was a strug gle. In fact, I lost form and wasn’t able to keep my elbows as close together as I wanted.So, I lowered the weight some, and gave myself a good 5-minute rest. But, this time I think I lowered it too much, because I was able to get the last set for 10 reps.So, now we’re an hour into the workout (it’s after 11:00). And, I can tell you sipping that “cocktail” as we train is really helping.Now it’s time to speed things up and “go for the pump”.

We go back to biceps. It’s been 30 minutes since our last biceps exercise so they’re feeling strong. Our triceps, because of the time taken between sets, actually are ready to go as well. We’re going to superset incline dumbell curls with seated tricep dips for a total of five supersets.

On the incline dumbell curls make sure you keep the back of your head and back flat against the bench. This will give you a better stretch in your biceps. And at the end of each set, let your biceps hang holding on to the dumbells and stretch for a count of 20 seconds— severe burn. You will probably need to use straps, otherwise good luck in being able to hold the weight that long! On seated triceps dips we use plates on our quads for added resistance.

Here’s how it goes:

  1. 10 reps incline curl (both arms at same time) with 45lb dumbells – holding each set at the end for 20 seconds supersetted with seated dips, no weight, 30 reps.
  2. Repeat #1 for 5 total sets!

Now, my arms are so swollen my skin feels like it’s about to tear. The Muscle Synergy is really talking. My arms look like roadmaps. It’s awesome.

Marty and I rest 10 more minutes. (We have to before we can even think of picking up a weight again.)

OK, times up. We do the next technique maybe once every ten arm workouts. It’s special and unique, so keep it that way. We go back to barbell curls, use the 45lb bar and put a 25 on each side. I grab the bar and do two perfect reps then hand it to Marty. He does one rep (I’m a little stronger, so this is only fair). He gives it back and I do 2 reps. He takes it for one rep. We continue back and forth until one of us quits. We are both competitive. Minutes later we are still going at it. Yes, our form is shot, and our lower backs are getting more work than our biceps. I see veins about to burst in Marty’s face and neck. I look down at my arms and all I can think about is how freaken sore they are going to be two days from now. But we keep going.

Finally, I can’t get a second rep, so he’s the winner—this time--Barely. -Brain Weifer www.wiefit.com