Other interpretations of intensity cycling

7.107 A compromise some people may want to pursue is to have two cycles running concurrently. Half of your exercises could be in the intensive stage while the others are only just starting on a new cycle. An advantage of this is that only half your exercises would get full-bore treatment at one time, so your recovery system would get less of a beating than it would if all exercises were to the hilt at the same time.

7.108 An extension of this approach is to have each exercise running in its own cycle independent of the other movements. Rich Rydin and Dave Maurice recommended an interpretation of this approach in their article in hardgainer issue #34:

Eventually you will reach the point where no progress is being made, or is forthcoming. ^is represents the end of the cycle for that exercise. As a general rule, the "smaller" the exercise the earlier this will occur. As an example, we would expect a trainee to peak on curls well before peaking on deadlifts. When this happens, drop the exercise you have reached a plateau on. Select another movement which works the same muscle functions, though perhaps in a different way, and start it at an 80-90% effort level.

Let's look at some likely examples... When progress is halted on overhead presses, our trainee should, on his next [press workout], simply perform another pressing movement of his choice. ^is might be another variant of overhead pressing, or a dumbbell bench exercise, for example. If he feels that his progress is nearing an end on his larger exercises, he can of course continue his program without the presses. Likewise, if he stalls on pullups, he might try some dumbbell rows, or some shrugs, or again, drop the exercise.

What if he stalls on a "big" exercise? It really shouldn't change the procedure. If squats stall and progress is still being made on deadlifts, he should do front squats in place of squats, or "restart" his squat cycle, perhaps with a different rep target. As long as progress is being made on just one major movement, then a lack of progress on the other movements should not be considered indicative of anything more profound than just that—a lack of progress on those movements. If you are still progressing on either squats or deadlifts, then gross overtraining should not be a concern. If you think about this philosophy, you will see that it is quite conceivable to finish a cycle performing an entirely different set of exercises than those used at the start of the cycle.

7.109 A possible advantage of these interpretations of intensity cycling is that every workout is likely to have some challenge in it but not necessarily from a core movement. New-ground challenges every workout are necessary to keep some people motivated.

7.110 ^e drawback with these variations of intensity cycling is that you may never have a break because you will always be pushing very hard in at least one exercise. ^us both your body and mind may never get the chance to restore themselves. If you apply one of these interpretations you need to take a precautionary measure to avoid total systemic overtraining. Take a complete break from training for at least a week when progress has ceased on both squats and deadlifts, if your original cycle included both. If it only included the squat or deadlift, take the break when progress ceases on that single movement. In either case, start a new cycle after the break.

7.111 How practical these variations of intensity cycling are will depend a great deal on the circumstances of your life, how much stress you have out of the gym, and how successfully you are able to meet the out-of-the-gym contributions to training success. In other words, one approach may be perfect for you during some stages of your life, but be useless at other stages when your circumstances are radically different.

Conservatism, with few exceptions, is the way to go for most people who lift weights. Erring on the side of greater conservatism rather than less, is the best choice. Haste nearly always makes waste. Make haste slowly.

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Getting Started With Dumbbells

Getting Started With Dumbbells

The use of dumbbells gives you a much more comprehensive strengthening effect because the workout engages your stabilizer muscles, in addition to the muscle you may be pin-pointing. Without all of the belts and artificial stabilizers of a machine, you also engage your core muscles, which are your body's natural stabilizers.

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