I was recently watching an episode of ‘London Real’ (an old one albeit) where American Futurist Jacque Fresco was being interviewed. This incredible philosopher, inventor and humanitarian (now 98 years old) uttered something that really struck a chord with me. He said ‘There is no such thing as creativity’. He went on to explain that man doesn’t come up with original ideas but merely builds upon what he observes. The example he provided: a person didn’t ‘invent the wheel’, but ancient man observed something (possibly a boulder type object) that functioned as a wheel and ‘voila!’ the wheel was born. He’s correct in a sense, and I think the same thinking can be applied to training. Even with all the advances in sports nutrition and exercise science, has training really evolved since the Vince Gironda days?
Speaking of Gironda, he really was creative in a sense. He would practice exercises, finding what muscle group was sore and fervently scribble in his large volumes of notebooks on ‘what worked’. How he looked and the champions he trained (See Mohamed Makkawy and Larry Scott for starters) looked were the pinnacle of what was achievable in their respective eras. While a lot can be attributed to ‘good genetics’ the ‘Iron Guru’ seemingly had a method to his madness. Taking the same experimental approach I developed my own training system based on observation of different strength related endeavors, some research and experimentation of my own; thus devising the ‘Manslaughter Brutal Tension Training System’.
Like most, I always marveled watching the granite-cut bodies of the relatively light-weight gymnasts performing exercises like the ‘iron cross’ at the Olympics. These incredibly strong, remarkable athletes; in general display striated shoulders, bulging biceps and ripped and muscular pectorals. They engage in very little actual weight training but countless ‘reps’ of static contractions. They display the muscle maturity present in some of the greatest, top-level bodybuilders. I myself, from occasion will incorporate entire workouts for short micro-cycles of time (generally 4-6 weeks)– always achieving rapid changes in my body composition and muscle density in this brief period. However it is very ‘brutal’ and the CNS can only handle these workouts for a brief period of time (at least for myself).
Basically, what I will do when performing a brutal tension workout is as follows. I will do an exercise for generally 8 repetitions, and for 3 sets with usually 3 exercises per body-part. What I do during the set, is the part that differs from my normal workouts, and that is the incorporation of static holds. I will reduce my weight generally to 50-70% of my working weight and (on most exercises) hold the weight statically at 1/3 of the rep for a 10 count. By the end of my 8th rep, I am quivering, my muscles are burning like the ill-fated city of Pompeii and I’m pumped to cartoonish levels, the mutation beginning to set in. A great way to try this is to do side-lateral raises. Hold it at the 1/3 range of motion (where the side deltoids are most active) for the 10 count and feel the agony as you mold your demonic deltoids.
It will take some experimentation in finding out what exercises you would like to incorporate in your own Brutal Tension Program; as some make poor choices, while others make excellent ones. Obviously one would be very foolhardy and probably risk paralysis attempting a deadlift in this fashion (please don’t). However, if you wish to build nasty, cross-striated quadriceps; one might perform a set of hacksquats in Brutal-Tension fashion, ultimately sending you to Iron Valhalla in muscular agony. In brief summary, choose a split you normally would do and review the exercises to find the most appropriate. Apply the methodology listed above and do the workouts for 1 month without any changes in your diet and supplementation. You can call it the ‘Brutal Tension’ challenge. I myself will be embarking on it rather soon– opting for 6 weeks of this style of training complimenting a caloric deficit, getting my ass on back on track and in shape for competition; hopefully documenting the progress on Iron Affinity and providing training videos to compliment.
An example of a Brutal Tension Back Assault Workout would be as follows:
Smith Machine Barbell Rows – 3 sets of 8 reps
Hammer Strength Lat Pulldown Machine – 3 sets of 8 reps
Seated Rope Rows (W/lats flared during entire motion) – 3 Sets of 8 Reps
Bent Over Dumbbell Rows – 3 sets of 8 Reps
***Remember, during each repetition you are holding the weight in a static contraction at 1/3 of the positive movement, then completing your repetition.
More on the Manslaughter Brutal Tension System in the coming weeks… Stay Hardcore, Stay Narcisexual, Stay Godly, Stay Solid.