Thursday, April 26, 2012

Adelfo Cerame Road to Wheelchair Championships: From Dr. Andro's "Do 100" to MOTP, My Overkill Training Program

Image 1: In his effort to look even better on stage, Adelfo goes to extremes; yet, what may be beneficial, even necessary, when you are at his level of conditioning and muscularity. Mark my words: Don't try Adelfo's program at home, ah... I mean at your gym ;-)
I must admit that when I read Adelfo's weekly write-up, I was ... well, "shocked" may not be the right word. Maybe "perplexed" would be a better word!? After all, here he was, my friend Adelfo Cerame, citing me as a source for workout that is in fact so insane that it could eventually actually work out (all puns intended). I am yet still not 100% sure if Adelfo simply misunderstood my "Do 100" principle from the last installment of the "Step to step guide to your own workout routine" series, which actually implied doing 100 reps of a single, i.e. one, uno, or in German "eine", exercise in as many sets as it takes and then head home, or, if he (and I guess this is the case) simply thought that doing "just" one-hundred would be child's play. Whatever it may be - if I did not know that Adelfo is well aware of the fact that the temporary overreaching protocol he has come up with is, above all, temporary and will become counter-productive, whenever you adhere to it for more than max. 2-3 weeks, I would be afraid of his placing in the next show... as it is now, however, I am curious about the results and I bet you will be as well, once you've read about Adelfo's Overkill Training Program.

Whenever you think you know everything, ...

On my casual morning visit to the SuppVersity (a daily ritual of mine), I came across one of Adel's (Dr. Andro's) most recent articles in his "Step to step guide to your own workout routine" series. I was going through the article, noting a few interesting points, when a certain word, or rather a phrase caught my attention:
"Do 100… if you want to build muscle or get into shape, pick one of the basic exercises, like squats, pull-ups, push-ups, farmers walk, etc. and do 100 reps in as much sets as it takes; try to reduce the number of sets from workout to workout - with the high intensity and the build-in progression, it is quasi impossible that you don't see results."
I thought about that for a second. Increase workload to the point of overkill, and with the combination of progression, increased tension, and stress to the muscles, give your body no other chance than to grow? Right! I felt like the guys in those comic strips with the light-bulbs over their heads and the "enlightened" expression on their faces. My creative juices began to flow and I could already see myself training according to my twist of the training philosophy I had just read about...  “Do 100”!

Conquering Dr. Andro's "Do 100"

I started brainstorming. First I picked several compound exercises; and, just as Adel's write up said, I picked those exercises I know work best for me - those, where I "don't just move the weight", but "really feel the muscles contract"; those that allow for an optimal mind-muscle connection; and my first choices for chest + shoulders were...
Image 1: Click on the image to check out the "best" chest exercises in the SuppVersity EMG Series
  • Smith bench press to clavicles
  • Hammer strength/ or DB incline presses
  • Hammer strength decline presses
  • Cable cross-over fly’s
  • Pullovers
  • BB jammer presses
  • DB incline side laterals/ or DB isolated lateral raises
  • DB front raises
The next question was: "hich set/rep scheme to use to enable me to "DO 100"? I knew off the bat that 100 for each exercise would be overkill, and Adel was probably thinking about more of an intensified 10x10 routine, where you just pick one exercise for your 100s, anyways; yet, this is my routine, my twist and my training program, and so I decided to give it an even more intense slant.

I did the math: With 5-7 exercises and 50 reps for each, I could split those in 5 sets of 10... ok, that would not actually be 100 total reps for each, and neither "only" 100 reps for the total workout, but it would be an intense combination of exercises of which I know that I can benefit from doing them, i.e. 5-7 productive exercises a 50 reps with those reps distributed across roughly 5 sets of 10 reps each... that would be a total of 250-450 reps - sounds wicked!

"Wicked" as as in 2wickedly mad" or "wicked" as in "wickedly productive"?

Before starting or moving forward with a new training regimen, I always like to take a step back and evaluate - in this case the main question was pretty obvious:
Image 3: Arnold Schwarzenegger's 7(!) Mr. Olympia titles certainly speak to the efficiency of insane training sessions... it should be noted, though, that contrary to Adelfo, Arnold's most anabolic supplement was not Myotropic's Physique 2.0 total milk + WM HDP based meal supplement ;-)
  1. Can I handle the workload? I’m pretty confident in myself, and know what my body can endure. I feel like I've been pumping iron long enough to have both the strength and the endurance, it will take to train intense from rep one to rep four-hundred-fifty. And I’ve been finding myself wanting to do more even after my training sessions, as of late (maybe a consequence of the increased caloric intake in this "mini-bulk", see last installment).
  2. Am I trying to do too much? Obviously, I may be trying to do too much; and that even to a point, where some of you, my dear readers (and I suspect Dr. Andro, the voice of reason *rofl*, as well), may think that this is ridiculous, but you’ll never know until you try. I always like to push the envelope and challenge myself, and to be honest; I really feel that my body needs to be pushed right now.
  3. Will this be beneficial towards my goals, or counter productive? Now, being able to do something and to benefit from it are two very different animals. 
    "Do 100… if you want to build muscle or get into shape, pick one of the basic exercises, like squats, pull-ups, push-ups, farmers walk, etc. and do 100 reps in as much sets as it takes; try to reduce the number of sets from workout to workout - with the high intensity and the build-in progression, it is quasi impossible that you don't see results."
    This quote summed it up for me! When I first read this paragraph; all I read was “build muscle”, “100 reps”, “high intensity”, “build-in progression”, and “impossible that you don’t see results”, and that’s all I needed to see to get excited *lol* (Come one, you were excited, too, right?). It just made sense to me. The only way I see this being counter productive, is if I don’t implement proper rest to let my body recover, and proper nutrition to drive my workouts, and to aid my body to recover, rebuild and grow!
MOTP - Training: "My Overkill Training Program!" Lol.

These days the success, or I should say, the popularity of a training program is not only determined by the results it will yield (unfortunately), but also by its name. When I was thinking about an appropriate label, the term "overkill" appeared to describe the principle most accurately; and I guess, you will agree - at the latest, when you see the overall workload of a single workout.

Actually, I had planned to test drive the following three workouts next week, but being so excited about the whole concept, I could not resist and jumped right into the torture yesterday. Kicking it off with my "arm day" (simply because this was on my schedule, anyways):
Figure 1: MOTP Arm Workou (workout 3, Wednesdays); * signifies that the exercises are done in a superset fashion
In view of the fact that this was "only arm day", it is hard to say how I will feel after Monday's and Tuesdays chest and back training sessions - but based on yesterday's workout, it appears that I am well able to handle this rather insane workload.

You will perish, if you don't leave your ego at the door 

What remains to be seen, though is whether my ego can do the same. I mean, I kept pushing myself hard, but there is a time point, where it does not take much weight to make your muscle burn like fire - and that even more than at the beginning of the session, when you were still pumping with twice or thrice the amount of weight. I know that it will be difficult, but I will have to pace myself throughout the workout, and lift the weights that will allow me to complete the given number of sets and reps - no more, no less:
Figure 2: Chest + Shoulder (workout 1, Mondays; top) and Back + Traps (workout 2, Tuesdays; bottom)
It should be obvious that I am not giving up on my usual 5x5 strength base all together - that would be in fact be counterproductive (see point 3 above). Therefore I plan to couple the MOTP sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with the 5x5 strength base on Fri and Saturday, playing it by ear as I go through the week and adjusting the workload according to whether or not I will be able to roll out of the gym on my own on Monday or will have somebody else wheel me out ;-) It could thusly well be that I will insert another rest day between the workout session, but it all depends on how my body reacts, so we’ll just have to see.

I’ll give you all an update next week to let you know if this program was a success or not, and I’ll also shoot some videos, so that you all can get an idea of how things are working out for me. So, stay tuned until next week!