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Training for Mass by Dave Tate I have had the opportunity to train at Westside Barbell for the past

10 years. What I discovered when I first arrived was that all the members had incredible muscle thickness. The thickness through the upper back and triceps was among the thickest I had ever seen in any gym. The second thing I noticed is that the majority of the lifters competed in the heavier weight classes (242, 275, 308, SHW). When I asked Louie Simmons about this he replied, " If you want to lift big weights then gain weight." I took this advice to heart and over the next couple of years my weight jumped 30 pounds while maintaining the same body fat level. This was accomplished by using the max effort method, the repeated effort method, the dynamic effort method, and increasing work capacity. Most of what I have read about gaining mass has always centered on using sub maximal weights to failure. A typical set and repetitions always seems to be in the range of 3 to 5 sets of 6 to 10 repetitions. The exercise choice is always broken down by body part and averaged between 4 to 5 exercises per body part. Basically, just blast the muscle and they will grow. Repeated Effort Method The training method used with this system is known as the repeated effort method. The repeated effort method involves lifting a non-maximal load to failure where only during the fatigued state maximal numbers of motor units are recruited. While this is a very important method by which to increase muscle tension, it also has it limitations. We all have read that for this method to really be effective, we should gradually try to increase the weight we are using in a progressive overload fashion. For example, if you are performing 3 sets of 8 repetitions with 315lb in the bench, then you should gradually increase the weight over time. The downfall to using this method exclusively is that all strength is based upon your level of absolute strength. Using the same example, your absolute strength will allow you 315lb for 8 repetitions. Until your level of absolute strength is increased your progress will stagnate. What is needed then is a way to increase absolute strength to coincide with the repetition method. These methods are known as the maximal effort and dynamic effort methods.

Maximal Effort Method The best way to increase your level of absolute strength is with the use of the maximal effort method. This method is considered superior for both the increase of intramuscluar and extramuscular coordination. The reason this works so well is that the muscles and central nervous system will only adapt to the load that is placed upon them. The implementation of this system involves the use of maximal weights for 1 to 3 repetitions. It has been proven that weights over 90% elicit the best gains in strength but will quickly lead to neuromuscular shut down after one to three weeks depending on the exercise and athlete. When using this method it is important to only choose one exercise per workout and use this exercise in a two week rotation. This means after the second week, switch to a different exercise. Because of the quick rate of over training it is important to switch the exercises being used. For the advanced athlete, it can be as often as every week. Some of the best movements to use with this system are basic compound movements such as the squat, good morning and dead lift. Any version of these movements will work just as well if not better. Westside uses over 300 different types of max effort exercises all based around these three basic lifts. Some of the variations include. 1. Good Mornings suspended by chains 2. Low Box safety squat bar squats 3. deadlifts off pins 4. low box squats with the use of a manta ray or front squat harness 5. cambered bar good mornings 6. Dead lifts pulling against bands Dynamic Effort Method Another important method involved in gaining maximal muscle mass and strength is the dynamic effort method. This method involves lifting nonmaximal weights with the greatest speed possible. This method of training is great for increasing the rate of force development and explosive strength and

also has a great demand on the central nervous system. The two best exercises for this method are the box squat and the bench press, these two exercises are regarded by many as the best for overall strength and mass development. The box squat is performed by performing your squats down to a box, then pausing and returning in an explosive fashion. This is training in a static dynamic fashion which has been shown to have a positive effect on the development of explosive strength. The sets and repetition pattern for these two exercises are 8 sets of 2 repetitions for the squat and 8 sets of 3 repetitions for the bench press. The percentages of weight to be used are 50 to 60% for the bench and 60 to 70% for the box squat. For this method to stress the CNS maximally you must apply 100 percent effort to the bar. For example if you bench press 400 pounds and are training with 200 pounds then you have to apply 400 pound of force to the bar. Increasing Work Capacity The final component of any mass building program is the idea of increasing work capacity. Siff and Verkhoshansky define work capacity in the text Super Training as the general ability of the body as a machine to produce work of different intensity using the appropriate energy systems of the body. The trick to increasing work capacity is to do it in away to avoid over training. The state of over training can halt progress in its tracks and actually send you on a down hill slide. The old way of increasing work capacity was to just throw in more exercises and more sets. This is the mentality of most strength athletes "more is better." Well more is better in some cases as long as the more is built on a solid bases. When you try to do more work than your base can carry then the base will fall out. One-way to increase your base or your GPP (general physical preparedness) is with the use of a dragging sled. The sled is prescribed for both the upper body and lower body. With special straps you can perform front, side and rear lateral raises as well as ankle dragging where the straps are around your ankles and you drag the sled by walking forward. This movement is great for the hip flexors and abdonimals. This exercise alone has brought up my own abdominal strength while being stagnated for over two years with conventional abdominal exercises. Sample Training Week Monday:

Good mornings (using the maximal effort method): Start with a light weight and work up in weight using sets of three reps. When three reps becomes difficult drop the reps to one and keep increasing the weight until a one rep max is reached. Close stance low box squats: 4 to 5 sets of 5 reps Reverse Hypers: 4 to 5 sets of 8 reps Hanging Leg Raises: 6 sets of 6 to 8 reps Sled Dragging: Forward dragging: 2 trips of 200 feet Ankle Dragging: 2 trips of 200 feet Wednesday: Close Grip Bench Press: (using the maximal effort method): Start with a light weight and work up in weight using sets of three reps. When three reps become difficult drop the reps to one and keep increasing the weight until a one rep max is reached. Barbell Triceps Extensions: 6 sets of 5 to 8 reps One Arm Dumbbell Presses: 4 sets of 10 reps Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 6 reps Sled Dragging: Forward raises: 2 trips of 200 feet Rear Rises: 2 trips of 200 feet Friday: Box Squats: (using the dynamic effort method): warm up to a weight that is 60 to 70 percent of your current one rep max. Perform 8 sets of 2 reps in an

explosive fashion. Rest only 1 minute between sets) Lunges: 5 sets of 5 reps each leg Reverse hypers: 5 sets of 5 to 8 reps Pull Down Abs: 5 sets of 6 to 8 reps Sled Dragging: Forward dragging: 2 trips of 200 feet Ankle Dragging: 2 trips of 200 feet Sunday: Bench Press: (using the dynamic effort method): warm up to a weight that is 60 to 70 percent of your current one rep max. Perform 8 sets of 3 reps in an explosive fashion using three different grips. Rest only 1 minute between sets) Dumbbell Triceps Extensions: 6 to 8 sets of 10 reps Pushdowns: 3 sets of 10 reps Rear Deltoid Dumbbell Raises: 3 sets of 10 reps Dumbbell Rows: 5 sets of 8 reps Sled Dragging: Forward dragging: 2 trips of 200 feet Ankle Dragging: 2 trips of 200 feet By applying these principles the average weight gain at Westside Barbell has been 30 pounds in the first year alone for many of our lifters. As a bodybuilder or strength athlete it is important to apply the methods of maximal, dynamic and repeated effort while constantly pushing up you work capacity. Without this combination, progress is limited. Always remember

that the past never equals the future as long as you keep changing the methods of the past. So what are you waiting for? Get to the gym!