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I have entered a short off-season period in my training. I took a week after the Empire Classic just to kind of mess around in the gym with some light hypertrophy stuff and let the nervous system regenerate. I am now in the third week of a 6-week phase of higher volume, lower intensity training to get in shape for a peaking phase in the future in preparation for the IPF Pro Deadlift Grand Prix Championships in Atlantic City, NJ on July 23rd.
The staple of my current training cycle is a 6-week front squat Russian cycle. This entails front squatting three times per week with high volume and a wave of moderate, light, and high intensity throughout each week. It is absolutely brutal, but all the work will pay off in the end and set me up for some heavy weights and hopefully personal records in the near future. If you want to check out the specific sets, reps, and intensities of the program it can be found at http://www.jackalsgym.com/. It is in training cycles like this where I really have to count on HMB for a huge boost in the recovery department, and HMB never lets me down.
I have gotten back to what used to be a staple of my low back training: good mornings. In the current cycle I am doing these with an arched back and with a safety squat bar to really overload the low back and hamstrings. I have also started doing barbell hip lifts with the shoulders elevated. I am not sure if this will be a movement I will go back to in the future. It is still in the evaluation stages. The purpose is to strengthen the glutes for the lockout of the deadlift. I will be sure to post a video of this movement on my You Tube site once I work up to some respectable weight. Another movement I have included to strengthen the hamstrings is double-arm, single-leg deadlifts. It is good to use “off-season” periods to address unilateral strength and correct any imbalances that may exist. The cumulative effect of doing this over the duration of a lifting career will cut down on the wear and tear on the body. I have also added in higher rep tire flips and high volume prowler pushes to improve the work capacity. Improving general work capacity will enable you to recover faster, handle higher and higher workloads in your training, and build the foundation that is necessary to lift really heavy weights.
Not much has changed on the supplement and diet front, but I have started using one new products. It is Amino Chewables from Optimum Nutrition. Research has shown that consuming amino acids before and during training will spare lean body mass loss (especially if you train early in the morning before eating a full breakfast) and also speed the recovery process. Remember, the recovery process never ends. Get a jump start on today’s recovery by taking HMB and Amino Chewables BEFORE your workout.