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Preparation for the Arnold Classic is right on schedule. The biggest difference that I am currently experiencing with my training is the cumulative effect of the smartest year of training I have completed to date. In past years of training I would throw my knowledge of training, my common sense and my patience out the window and lift as heavy as I could and as often as I could with way too much volume. This was fun but it led to overtraining time and again. The result in the long-term was that I would have to nearly start from scratch when resuming training after recovering from the overtraining. This has not been the case over the past ten months. In this time I have completed two Russian cycles of RDL’s, one Russian cycle of front squats and two abbreviated cycles of raw 5x5 back squats. In addition to this I have implemented a very calculated and a very patient approach to training. The result is that each successive cycle of training has built on the previous ones. Going into my peaking phase for the Arnold everything is ahead of where it typically is at this time. Grip strength, upper back strength, lower back strength, leg strength and core strength are all ahead of schedule and I have already been setting new personal records in many movements.
Patience and hard work combined with consistent training equals an effective (although not flashy) formula for continued strength gains. People often wonder how Brad Gillingham puts up the numbers he does for so many years in the deadlift: 76 competition deadlifts over 800 pounds! If you did RDL’s and raw squats for 20 years consistently you would have some impressive strength levels, too.
No major changes have been implemented in my training from what was planned with one exception. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a 700 pound tire. I will alternate power cleans with tire flips for my explosive work on deadlift day for the peaking phase leading up to the Arnold.
A big test for my lower back will come this Saturday when I will go heavy on rack deadlifts. The bar will be set 24” off of the ground (I start high and work my way closer to the floor as I get closer to competition). I have not decided if I will do a 5- 3- or 1-reptition maximum, yet. This will be determined how I feel during my warm-up attempts.
A tremendous luxury throughout the training process that I experience is the ease with which I recover. This can be partially attributed to all those years of very high volume with high intensity I did in my training, but a substantial amount can be attributed to the effect that HMB has on the recovery process. The essence of the recovery process entails two things: 1. Increase protein synthesis, 2. Decrease protein degradation. HMB does both very effectively. Nothing else works around the clock quite like HMB does to enhance recovery. Give yourself a clear-cut edge and include HMB in your training arsenal!