Adelfo Cerame: Building Your Back - An RPE Based Focus Routine. Plus: The No-Bake Pina Strawberry Cheesecake

Adelfo's triceps training may be too simplistic to fill a whole blogpost with it, but it's easy to see that it works. You want more details? Then skip to his introductory paragraph right below the "plug" for today's installment of the Science Round-Up
Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy is still all over the news. Reason enough to address her decision to rely on a gene essay and get her breast removed in today's installment of the Science Round-Up. The show starts on 12PM EST on the Super Human Radio Network. If that's too early for you and you cannot make it to the live show (click here for the stream), don't worry. You'll can get the "Seconds", as well as the podcast tomorrow, right here at the SuppVersity.

What? You're fed up and have heard enough about Angelina Jolie and "boops, or no boops"? No problem, Carl and I are going to make up for that by shedding some more light onto the recently published news on the benefits of training over the full-ROM  and the hitherto only alluded to, but not explicitly discussed novel findings of the role IGF-1 and fascial stretching plays in skeletal muscle hypertrophy.

And if neither of those is really of interest, you may be interested in a hitherto more or less unknown strain of gut bacteria of which Belgian scientists believe that it could be used in the "prevention or treatment of obesity and its associated metabolic disorders" (Everard. 2013)... What? Oh, you are just there for Adelfo's bi-monthly guest post and want me to shut up and just post his latest guestpost? Ok, here you go

Adelfo Cerame on Building a Better Back - A Template to Build On

After reading yesterday's SuppVersity post about a study on “localized” muscle growth in the triceps, I coincidentally get an inbox coming from Adel asking if I could write up a triceps routine in light of yesterday's post. As much as I love working triceps, though, had to counter his suggestion, as I don’t have that many tools in the toolbox for the triceps, so the workout would probably have been pretty boring for most of you. I stick to triceps extensions using a rope or weighted dips, and the rest of my triceps gets hammered when I do push movements such as bench and overhead presses. So, instead I suggested a back routine since building my back has been the main focus and priority so far this off-season…

An RPE based 2x back focus training

Here’s an example of 2 pull day workouts that coach Alberto had me on for these past 8 weeks during my reverse diet/ off-season improvement phase. Obviously this program was tailored to my personal needs, but if you grasp and understand the concept of using the RPE scale and incorporate it into your training program, you can adjust my back workout with a few tweaks to make it your own based on your specific focus, regardless of whether that's strength, hypertrophy or maybe some sports-specific goal.
Table 1: Tabular overview of the two back days in my recent routine. As the labels "day 1" and "day 3" already indicate these are just the "back days" of a focus workout, so that you'd train the missing body parts on seperate days.
Now, you're probably asking yourselves how on earth you can determine which weights to use on those exercises, right? Basically, the weight you pick is determined by the RPE (rate of perceived exertion) and the rep ranges given in table 1 – so it might take some playing around with the first time to find your initial set based on the RPE.

What's the RPE scale?
10 = absolute max
9 = 1 rep left in the tank
8 = 2-3 reps left in the tank
7 = ....
Let's take an example: If your given rep range was 8 with an RPE of 9, then you should lift a weight that you can do for 8 reps but still have one more left in the tank if you wanted to (you obviously don’t perform this additional rep, just know that you had one left)
When it comes to grips I like to play around with all possible variations and often even change them from set to set depending on how I’m feeling. In general, I'll choose a grip that will allow me to lift more weight and will allow me to perform more sets while maintaining a maximal muscle stimulus…

Lets use the Hammerstrength chest supported seated row machine as an example. The closer my grip the more weight I can pull, but the wider the grip the more challenging for me, so I mix it up wide to close from set to set but eventually when fatigue starts to kick in, I will switch to my preferred close grip so I can push myself to perform more sets and prolong that certain exercise that I’m on, and since the focus is to grow the back, I obviously want to add more volume, which in turn will add more frequency of hitting that specific back area I am trying to improve.
Figure 1: Back development after the contest - 1 week,  4wks, 6wks,  8wks, 8wks (from left to right)
This has been my off-season back development so far since I started my post-contest reverse dieting. I started my post-contest reverse diet the following Monday right after my show where it says “week 1” on the left hand side of figure 1, and here I am currently at week 9 (photo to the utmost right of figure 1). I’m making gains at a turtles pace so it may not seem like much but I’m enjoying how I’m able to maintain my leanness this far out post-contest, and I will be able to see and appreciate my gains more so if I’m able to maintain this body composition for the duration of my off-season; which should be a very long one.

Pre-Workout Goodness: The No-Bake Pina Strawberry Cheesecake

Adelfo Cerame's "The No-Bake Pina Strawberry Cheesecake"
Before I sign off for today, here’s a pretty sweet pre-workout meal I came up with…I call it the “No bake Pina Strawberry Pre-workout cheesecake”

  • Pineapple cottage cheese
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt
  • Low-fat graham crackers
  • Karbolyn 
Directions: Pretty simple and self explanatory from the images – just adjust portions/measurements based on your macronutrient needs.

References (for the introduction):
  • Everard A, Belzer C, Geurts L, Ouwerkerk JP, Druart C, Bindels LB, Guiot Y, Derrien M, Muccioli GG, Delzenne NM, de Vos WM, Cani PD. Cross-talk between Akkermansia muciniphila and intestinal epithelium controls diet-induced obesity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 May 13.
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