Thursday, August 23, 2012

Adelfo Cerame: Wendler 5, 3, 1 for Wheelchair Bodybuilders, Eating for Size, 6lbs More + Photos '11 vs. '12 Off-Season

Image 1: A major problem with all comparison shots is that lighting and tanning make it difficult to judge appropriately even if you strike your poses as perfectly as Adelfo does...check out image 2 & 3 as well and judge for yourself - where have those 6lbs gone?
It's Thursday, my friends, and today neither Adelfo nor I have been slacking or busy, which means that it's about time for another thursdaily guest lecture from "your's truly", as he would probably write, Adelfo Cerame Jr. whose latest "6lbs heavier than during my last prep"-pictures look - as usual - pretty amazing...; and that despite the fact that he has got to turn around so that you can see where he has put those three kilograms of lean mass. I guess, you will remember that in one of his latest posts he wrote he always hated training his back - now, he can't train his legs, but I know most of you can, so be honest: Do you like training your legs? No!? Well do it anyway, when you feel them and see them grow you will love it! ... just like Adelfo learned to love training his back... but enough of the wise-assing for today, let's see what Adelfo has in stock for us :-)

Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 + bulking update

As much as I love my 5x5 training, I’m getting a bit bored - which is causing me to be complacent with my training, plus it’s time that I give my body something different. I already made some changes to my hypertrophy split by adding supersets to some core exercise, so now I need to make some new changes for my strength training split.

In light of the fact that I am still willing to get involved in powerlifting this coming fall, I decided to take the opportunity and experiment with Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 strength training protocol. I’ve heard a lot of positive things about the protocol, especially for rather physique-/bodybuilding oriented powerlifting rookies like taking aim at the biggest weights insteod of the biggest muscles.

5/3/1? What's that supposed to be? The rep scheme?

Tip! Go to to calculate & generate your own 5, 3, 1 routinr
The 5/3/1 protocol is based on core lifts such as bench, squats, deads, and military presses – all the main compound lifts you would need in a strength routine, so to say. Other than classic O-lifting regimen, however, the 5/3/1 protocol has a decent amount of assistance exercises to perform after your core lifts – the assistance exercises are optional but is recommended to add a hypertrophy style element to the protocol (and this does not just make sense if you want to get bigger, but also if you want to get stronger, 'cause let's be honest: without more muscle your strength will  necessarily plateau sooner or later / just as vice-versa, by the way - so no "I just want to get a decent pump" workouts any longer, folks ;-).

As usual all, sets and reps are prescribed as percentages of your 1-RM on the core lifts. You use 90% of your 1RM as the base of your calculations, for me who obviously cannot do deads or squats these are
  • Bench presses max: 295lbs
  • Military press (hammer strength) max: 360lbs
If you take those and plug them into a plan with appropriate periodization (see table 1), which consists of a 4-week cycle n the course of which you add 10lbs to your 1RM (note the "+" means that you got to try to set a PR and do as many reps as you can after the mandatory reps).
Table 1: Standard periodization scheme for my interpretation of the Jim Wendler 3,2,1 regimen (* denotes a deload week)
As you can see in table 1, I will be building up the weights slowly max out and do a deload week. In order to give you a better idea of how this will look like in practice, here is my written out plan for the first week:
Monday/ Bench press day
(core + assistance exercise)

Core Exercise
Bench press - warm up: 3 sets of 5 reps
(5 x 106, 133, 159)
Bench press - working sets: 3 sets of 5 reps
(5 x 172, 199, 225+)

Assistance Exercise
Pull – hammer strength rows: 5x10-15
Push – DB incline press: 5x10-15
Pull – lat pulls: 5x10-15
Push – dips: 5x20

Tuesday: Rest
Friday/ hypertrophy day –
Chest + Shoulders + Triceps

DB flat press (superset)
+ BB flat press - 4 x 12/ 6-8
DB incline press (superset)
+ BB incline press: 4 x 12/ 6-8

Decline press (hammer str.): 4 x 12
Pec deck flys: 3 x 12 -15

DB shoulder press (superset)
+ DB lateral raise: 4 x 12/ 8-12

DB front raise: 4 x 12
Champagne tilts: 3 x failure
Triceps pull down: 3 x 12
Wednesday/ Military press day
(core + assistance exercise)

Core Exercise
Hammer Strength Military press
warm up: 3 sets of 5 reps
(5 x 130, 162, 194)

Hammer Strength
working sets: 3 sets of 5 reps
(5 x 211, 243, 275+)

Assistance Exercise
Pull - Chin-ups: 5x10
Push - DB shoulder press: 5x10
Pull - DB curls: 5x10
Push – dips: 5x20

Saturday/ hypertrophy day 

Back + Rear delts + Biceps

Seated rows (hammer str.): 4 x 12
High rows (hammer strength)/
or DB rows: 4 x 8-12

Seated deadlifts: 4 x 8-12
Lat pulls: 4 x 8-12
Lat pulls (close neutr. grip): 4 x 8-12

Shrugs: 4 x 12
Straight-arm overh. rope lifts: 3x15
Face pulls: 3x15
DB curls: 4 x 8-10

Thursday: Rest

Sunday: Rest
Table 2: Complete program of the first week - call it "based on" or "inspired by Jim Wendler", if you will ;-)
So far, I like the fact that the sets and reps for the core lifts are based on percentages. That takes the guesswork out of figuring out the weight you should lif,t when you are gradually trying to increase your strength. It makes things so nicely calculable and by simply plotting the respective graphs in Excel or whichever other application you like, you can immediately see if you are still on track or already lagging behind. With the less stringent programming of 5x5, where you’re just adding and deducting or "guestimating" how much your lifts should increase from week to week. You got a road-map right from the start and if you won't arrive at where you planned to be, four weeks before you know that you messed up ;-)

Latest bulking update: Comparison last vs. this year off-season

It’s been a while since I weighed myself. The last time I remember I weighed in at 138 lb. in March at the WC Nationals and at the WC Championships in New Orleans they didn’t even weigh us! They just assumed I was 140 lb. So the only accurate weight reading I’ve had was back in October before I started my prep, where I weighed 149 lb. and then 138 lb. in March and now 155 lbs., when I weighed myself a couple days ago.
Image 2: Comparison between last years off season Vs. This year’s off-season, with 1 more solid month still left to go before I start my prep again in October (front shot)
As you can see from the small date + weight overlays I added to the pictures, I put on 6 pounds from last years off-season, but can't honestly say that I see any significant difference between the two comparison picture other than my tan, but what I do notice is that I do look a lot leaner than last years picture, but I weigh more!?
Image 3: Image 2: Comparison between last years off season Vs. This year’s off-season, with 1 more solid month still left to go before I start my prep again in October (back shot)
When I emailed Adel aka Dr. Andro the initial comparison photos (which were the two from the front), he could not differentiate either or notice where that extra 6 pounds went, so I decided to compare my back pictures, and I guess you can say that’s where the 6 pounds went. I feel that I do look a lot meatier from the back. My lower trunk is a lot thicker and my lats look a tad wider… Hmmm… So I guess that’s what happens when you don't just prioritize, but actually start enjoying your back days!

Eating for size does not equal overeating until you achieve waist size XXXL

While I originally set out to go for the 3,000kcal mark, I am currently hovering around at 2,500-2,600kcal per day and am not just happy with the way I feel, look and train, but also with the number on the scale, I saw the other day. Overall, I figure I’m making pretty decent progress. I’m managing not to put on too much body fat, so why not just stick to it, I really don’t see the point to try to push to hit 3,000kcal -  especially with only a month left, until I will begin cutting back again.

That said my energy intake tends to be higher on the weekends, anyway. I use do go eat out and socialize, so that it probably balances out pretty well for the time that's still left to the start of my slow cut in October... I know that Dr. Andro and probably one or another of you will say:
"WTF, Adelfo, you will shed that little additional fat anyway, try adding in another 200kcal this and if that does not harm you, which it is guarantee not to do, go further up, as you planned to..."  
Hitherto, my gut tells me it will be better to stay where I am now, but I am always open for good arguments, so feel free to let me know your thoughts and who knows, maybe I'll be singing a different tune next week, already! Lol. I suppose you will just have to come back next Thursday and check ;-)