Friday, June 1, 2012

The V-Neck Workout


The V-Neck Workout
By: Mike Manzi

Let’s get one thing straight:  I definitely do NOT consider myself to be a slave to fashion trends.  The few trends I’ve attempted to get on board with have only ended…well let’s just say badly (Hammer pants anyone?).  

Ninety percent of my week is spent wearing gym shorts and Nike’s, so I’m not the type to go out and invest exorbitant sums of money in trendy clothing to wear in my limited free time spent either at the grocery store or sitting in the movies.  Never mind the fact that most of these trends don’t apply to guys like me anyway.  I eat…a lot, I lift heavy weights…a lot, so skinny jeans?  Extra-large oxford shirts that are so tight they feel like they’ve been shrink-wrapped to my torso?  Probably not going to pull those off any time soon.  

When I look for casual (non-gym) clothing, I tend to err more toward comfort and functionality, with style taking a close second.  With summer starting to peek it’s tanned head around the corner, I need something that I can be comfortable- yet look good in- whether I’m hitting a rooftop on Saturday night, or out to get the paper on Sunday morning.  

Thankfully, for guys out there, the V-neck t-shirt easily fits that description.  Comfortable enough to allow you to navigate your way through any number of the day’s tasks with ease, yet colorful and stylish enough to get you noticed by the fairer sex, and fitted just right to show off those bigger, thicker muscles you spent all winter developing.  

Wait, what do you mean you didn’t spend all winter developing bigger, thicker muscles?  What do you mean you’re swimming in that shirt like someone threw you in the deep end?  

Well, by all means, allow me to assist.  

I have just the program for you, my unprepared friend.  Take a look through it while I ready myself to kick sand in your face a la those Charles Atlas comics from the 1950’s.  

Just kidding.  All joking aside, this IS a program geared toward making you look good in short sleeves this summer.  It IS NOT, however, for the faint of heart.  There are a lot of repetitions, a lot of sets, and if you’re the type of person that likes to be in, out, and gone from the gym in 30 minutes, this program probably isn’t for you.  

If you’re still reading, you’re intrigued enough to give this a shot.  

Most mass-building programs you find out there will tend to eschew compound (multi-joint) movements for an increased emphasis on isolation (single-joint) movements, utilizing high set loads, heavy weights, and low repetitions.  Think about every “GET HUGE!” program you’ve ever read:    Start with one or two big movements, then spend the majority of your time working through smaller, more time-consuming movements.  

What I’ve done with this program, taking in to consideration this IS a short-term program, is turn that traditional knowledge on it’s head.  What you’ll find is an increased emphasis on compound movements, utilizing a strategy known as a pre-exhaust (working a smaller muscle prior to working a large one) to aid in motor unit recruitment, resulting in increased blood flow to the area and muscle fiber size.  

Another change I’m going to make is to the standard training split.  You know the one.  Monday is chest.  Tuesday is back.  Wednesday is legs.  Thursday is shoulders.  Friday is arms.  Raise your hand if I just named your EXACT weekly training split.  Boooring.  

What we’re going to do is hit every major muscle group twice every seven days, giving you less recovery time between workouts, and forcing your muscles to work that much harder to keep up with the blistering pace we’re setting.  

And while the majority of this program focuses on the musculature of the torso to make you look good in short sleeves, I also included a leg workout, because hey, you’ve got to have some pillars to support all this newly found strength and muscle, am I right?  

One thing I didn’t include with this program is a cardiorespiratory component.  While cardio IS indeed important, during this six-week phase, try and keep it to a minimum.  No more than 60 minutes a week, divided up however you wish.  And let’s watch the intensity as well, huh fellas?  Low to moderate intensity cardio is all you need, as we definitely don’t need you going catabolic and burning off all this hard-earned muscle because you suddenly felt like running five miles one day.  

Of course, by following this program, it DOES mean you will have to work out on the weekends, but remember, we’re thinking short-term here.  Six weeks of beating your muscles in to submission, and then you’ll be in maintenance mode for the rest of the summer.  Believe me, you (and the ladies) will thank me when it’s all over.  

Your New Training Split

Monday, Friday:  Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

Tuesday, Saturday:  Back, Biceps, Abdominals

Wednesday, Sunday:  Legs

Thursday:  Off

The Workouts

Chest



Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
(A) High-to-Low Cable Crossover
3
20
(B) Low-to-High Cable Crossover
20
Incline Dumbbell Press
4
8
Dumbbell Flye
4
10-12
Medicine Ball Pushups*
3
Failure


(A) and (B) should be performed as a superset
*Each hand on a medicine ball


Shoulders



Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
(A) Rear Delt Flye
3
20
(B) Dumbbell Front Raise
15
Standing Overhead Barbell Press
4
8
Dumbbell Lateral Raise
4
12, 10, 8, 6



(A) and (B) should be performed as a superset


Triceps


Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
Dips*
3
15
Seated Overhead Dumbbell Extension
3
20
Barbell Close-Grip Bench Press
4
8-10


*Utilize assisted dips as needed to get through the prescribed number of repetitions


Back


Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
(A) Cable Face Pull*
3
20
(B) Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown
15
Close-Grip Lat Pulldown
4
8
Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows
4
10-12 (each side)
Dumbbell Shrugs
4
25



(A) and (B) should be performed as a superset
*Set cable pulley in the high position and attach a triceps rope.  Grasp the base of the handles with an overhand grip (thumbs toward the face), lean back slightly, pinch the shoulder blades together, and pull the center point of the rope toward the bridge of the nose.


Biceps


Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
Seated Dumbbell Incline Curl (alternating)
3
15
Standing EZ-Bar Curl
3
20
Dumbbell Hammer Curl (alternating)
4
10




Abdominals


Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
Bicycle Crunch*
2-3
20 (each side)
Russian Twist w/ Medicine Ball
-
20 (each side)
Hanging Leg or Knee Raise
-
12-15
Elbow Plank
-
30-60 seconds




*Perform all exercises as a circuit (repeat one after another with little to no rest until all are completed).  Repeat as needed.




Legs

Exercise
Sets
Repetitions
(A) Seated Knee Extension
3
20
(B) Seated Leg Curl
25
Barbell Squat to Calf Raise
4
12-15
Barbell Alternating Lunge
4
10-12 (each side)
Standing Calf Raise
4
20



(A) and (B) should be performed as a superset


Mike Manzi is a Certified Personal Trainer and resident smart-ass at LoHi Athletic Club in Denver, Colorado




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