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Message Board with Training section- and due to several requests of James Vandervests' actual workouts!

High Intensity Training Tips 




Training in the gym (at a bodyweight of 247 lbs)

Intensity is the key to muscle growth and fast results

Genetic Potential

When trying to assess how far you can go, that is to say how big and strong one can get, its somewhat hard to say as this is a genetic limit and its an individual thing, which can only be accurately assessed in retrospect. Some things to look at are:somatotype- are you all ecto- or ecto-mesomorph, etyc, skeletal structure, length of the muscles themselves- the longer the muscle the greater its potential cross-sectional can be, muscle fiber density- - the more the better, etc.
As to just one example, I'm 6''3" and have been training for quite a few years. I started out as ecto mesomorph.
Here's what I achieved  to date.

Goood Luck and train hard,

Training, Cardio, Protein, Carbohydrates and Glycogen levels 

If I'm dong only cardio that day, I don't eat for at least 2 hours pre cardio. I want my blood sugar a bit low, and a little low on gylcogen so that the body will go into fat burning mode easier. I will then eat -protein, carbs etc when I get home to replenish the glycogen stores for the next days' weight session.
If I am weight training then doing cardio, I make sure I've had a good amount or protein and carbs within a few hours of training to fuel the high intensity contractions. By the time I've finished my weight workouts and do my cardio session, I've burned up a lot of muscle glycogen and glucose and again its easier for the body to go into fat burning mode.


Partial Reps

I do partial reps as an adjunct- never a substitution for full range training. Arthur Jones did a study of strength curves and found there are two types of individuals- type G and type S.  In the G type, although when only partials were done, these individuals gained a lot of strength in the partial range, full range training was found to be necessary, as there was very little to no transfer from the partial to full range strength. In the other type S, these individuals displayed transfer of strength gains from the partial to the full range. This was a considerably SMALLER segment of the trainees. (Ronnie Coleman might fight into this category, but as seen above, what is good for him, is NOT necessarily good for the rest of us.

The "Spillover" effect
This concept derives from some GREAT advice I read a few years ago which really helped me improve. If you want bigger arms- work your back and legs hard. WHAT? you say?. Here's the reasoning- whenever you stimulate a muscle to grow, it has a secondary effect on stimulating other muscles in the body to grow, the bigger the muscle stimulated- the bigger the effect. Legs being the largest have the greatest "spillover" affect. Back being second, etc. also working back hard realy workes the biceps hard- If you can curl 100 for reps and row 200 for reps- that 200 is going to "overload your biceps I do little direct arms work- 2-4 sets for bis and for tris, but up to 7 or 8 "working sets" for back and around the same for legs. Try working biceps once a week after back ammd triceps with your pulling muscles to elimminate excessive "overlapping" which can interfere with your recovery. Good Luck!

Trying to build calf muscles by  perfoming endless sets and reps of repetitive low intensity exercise is not the way to go. It is often argued that the calves are tougt muscles to get to respond because they are toughened by daily use and repetition. If this is the problem how can it also be the solution? Better to warmup thoroughly, then perfom 1-2 sets of high intensity calf exercises to failure and beyond. My own calves have gone from 16 inches to 19 inches from this approach. Don't baby yourself on these, pile on all the weight you handle SAFELY.

When performing compound movements for the torso muscles, the smaller muscles involved will fatigue first, leaving the larger, stronger muscles not fully stimulated. This can be averted by using the preexhaustion technique which involves performing an isolation exercise for the target muscle first and then following with a compound movement with no rest in between. This will insure that the targer muscle is fully stimulated.

Negative resistance can be a highly productive training method if used properly. To understand how negative resistance is important, remember that there are 3 types of contraction that skeletal muscles can undergo. The first is positive or concentric contractions- these are when you are contracting the muscle, ie lifting the weight. The next is static or isometric contractions. This is simply holding the weight or contraction at the point of maximum contraction- typically the top of the movement. The final type of contraction is the negative or eccentric contraction- the lowering of the weight. Exercise scientists have demonstrated that the eccentric phase is responsible for most, if not all, of  DOMS- the soreness that sets in 48-72 hours after working out.
It is hypothesized that more muscle damage (tearing down-microruptures of cells and membranes) occurs as a result. The implications are clear-negative training can be a more intense stimulus, but must be used judiciously to ensure repair, recovery and supercompensation. It is recommended that negatives be used no more than once a week for a muscle or muscle group-less for those with lower exercise tolerance.


It is essential if you want to make optimal gains to carry each set to at least a point of momentary muscular failure. This is the point where, despite your greatest effort, perfoming another full repetition is impossible. Carrying your sets to this point of failure ensures that you have stimulated growth. Training beyond failure with intensity variables such as forced reps, preehaustion, and negatives with further increase the intensity of the exercise. Be careful! For every increase in intensity, there is a deeper inroad made into your recovery ability, thus making the likelihood of overtraining ever greater.

Copyright 2004 James Vandervest