Archive for the training Category

Intense workout and ‘ pain’ in muscle

Posted in training on October 3, 2013 by takeupsculpting

It is not once in a blue moon that you get to hear a new member at a gym complain: “Oh, the pain I experienced the day after my workout was too intense. I think weight training does not suit my body.”

In nine out of 10 such cases, the “pain” a trainee is referring to is not the one resulting out of injury but a feeling of soreness which follows a hard workout programme.

Junior Mr. India Y. Annamalai

Junior Mr. India Y. Annamalai

Why are muscles sore?

Every individual muscle is made up of hundreds of fibres. Each one of them is forced to contract and expand during workout. When a trainee uses weights, the fibres get damaged at a micro level. This makes the body realise that the demands it has to meet in the future are likely to be as high as this, if not higher. So it repairs the damage, besides making the fibres slightly stronger and larger. The process is quickened if a person does not overtrain, gets enough sleep and eats the right kind of foods at the right hour.

Several ill informed trainers have little idea about the body’s recovery ability.

Sets and repetitions

When a person repeats an exercise for 10 times, it is called “doing one set of 10 repetitions.” After resting for a minute or so, another set or two may be completed.

When a newcomer does plenty of exercises and too many sets, the damage inflicted upon the fibres is too high.

Needless to say, the muscles, instead of being sore the following day, ache like they have been mutilated.

Soreness is an indication of having triggered response from the body. Pain is an indication of having gone overboard.

Beginning a workout

When you begin weight training, irrespective of your goals, train three non-consecutive days a week. Workout the whole body during the session, doing only one exercise for each muscle group. Pick up nothing more than eight or nine total exercises of each 10 repetitions. Do only one set on each movement for the first week, two sets the second week and three sets from the third week.

This keeps soreness to a minimum and assures results. This is a general suggestion and not written in stone. It can be modified under the guidance of a well-informed trainer, depending on the trainee’s body, age and recovery.



Recovery, key to non-stop gains

Posted in training on October 11, 2012 by takeupsculpting

I keep reading about how important recovery is to improving your physique even as you move into mid-to-late thirties and forties.
There are a lot of persons with pretty good knowledge of training and diet, but fall short in the recovery part. Majority of trainees are still under the impression that doing more sets or reps ALONE lead to overtraining. Reality, however, is a person can overtrain even if he or she hits the weights hard when the body is still tired from a previous workout. This can be what many big names call ‘systemic recovery.’

Inability of a person to sleep well, feeling tired despite regularly working out and eating right, and the lack of motivation to train are some of the common symptoms of overtraining.
These are more pronounced in the case of a person who is in his mid-thirties and older.
For example, a person who used to feel fresh and ready for another serious bout with the weights on his usual three-on-one-off split (or any split, for that matter) may suddenly need one more rest day. If the person ignores this message coming from the body and BLINDLY sticks to his split, he might not be able to train hard. He might even find it impossible to move a weight which he usually does, or experience pain and discomfort while forcibly training. This will most certainly lead to overtraining and might even cause injury.
In my own case, I can see that my body is right now not recovering as fast as it used to when I was 30. This is despite eating pretty right and training carefully.
On one of my recent workout days, I felt kind of tired and didn’t know if I was ready for the weights again. When I ignored that thought and started training, I was horrified to see my training poundage drop by more than 25 per cent on basic movements!!! Listen to your body and try to differentiate between laziness and genuine tiredness.
The concept of recovery applies not only to pro bodybuilders but also small-time amateur competitors.
– C. Lakshmi Kumar


Key to muscle growth

Posted in training on July 25, 2012 by takeupsculpting

Often trainees do not see results because they simply ‘go through’ the movements – i.e., they simply keep moving the weight from Point A to Point B.

To ensure optimum growth, trainees ought to establish a clear link between their mind and muscle, which would help them feel every single rep working hard on their target muscle. Lack of this mind-muscle link might prevent lot of trainees from seeing results.

Bodybuilding is a sport where you come up with your own ways and ideas which might eventually be accepted as training principles or techniques. However funny it might sound, if it looks like an idea would help you establish a strong mind-muscle link, you shouldn’t hesitate to regularly try it out.

One such idea I hit upon sometime back was ridiculed by some of my own friends. However, I incorporated it into my training and it did help me feel the exercises in my muscles during each rep, better than before. I had struggled for years to establish mind-muscle link and this idea help me do that.

It’s pretty simple – your spotter or training partner should put couple of his fingers exactly on the spot where a particular exercise is supposed to work.  You should concentrate on squeezing that area and getting a good pump and burn. The great feeling you are going to get after performing a set like this will tell you how well you have stimulated growth. However, it would be clumsy to try out this idea on exercises like squats and some abdominal exercises.

Try it out sensibly.

P.S: I remember reading about 1995 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic champion Mike Francois incorporating something similar to this in his training.

_ C. Lakshmi Kumar


A winning split to build muscle

Posted in training on June 30, 2012 by takeupsculpting
3-time 'Mr. India' Jayaprakash has an awesome physique.

3-time ‘Mr. India’ Jayaprakash has an awesome physique.

Competitive body builders train hard to build muscle and get ripped up for shows. Several champions have good systemic and muscular recovery, which helps them to train each muscle group more than once a week with a variety of exercises. What this means in simple language is the ability of their muscle groups and nervous system to recover from intense training and trigger growth is substantial.  However, not all trainees will be able to train each muscle group twice a week. Some of them may actually find that training each muscle once a week is less while training twice is too much. Such trainees may benefit from the split given here.

3-on 1-off plan

You split the entire body into three – Workout 1 will be chest, shoulder, triceps; Workout 2 will be thighs, hamstrings, abs; Workout 3 will be back, biceps, calves. Using three different workouts, you will train three consecutive days and take off on the fourth day. The cycle repeats. This kind of split has helped a lot of champions.

Here is a sample routine.


Bench press 16,12,10,8

Incline dumbbell press 10,10,10

Dips 10,10,10

Seated barbell shoulder press 12,10,8,6

Seated lateral raises 12,12,12,12

Seated bent over lateral raises 15,15,15,15

Close grip bench press 12,10,8,6

Lying barbell extension 10,10,10,10

Cardio 2530 minutes


Squats 15,12,10,8

Leg press 12,12,12

Hack squat 10,10,10

Leg curl 15,12,10,8

Stiff leg deadlifts 10,10,10

Hanging knee raises 15,15,15

Cable crunches 10,10,10

Lying oblique crunches 15,15,15


Chinning 10,10,10,10

Barbell row 10,8,8,8

Barbell shrugs 8,8,8

Barbell curl 10,8,6

Barbell preacher curl 12,12,12

Hammer curl 10,10,10

Standing calf Raises 15,12,10,8

Seated calf raises 15,15,15

Cardio 2530 minutes

Thu: Rest

Cycle repeats

2-on 1-off plan

However, if a trainee feels too tired after two consecutive workout days, he can take off on the third day and train again on the fourth and fifth days. In that case, this might become a 2-on 1-off split. Do not forget that your training depends on your recovery.

3-on 1-off, 2-on 1-off plan

If your gym does not function on Sunday, you can train like this: Perform Workout 1 on Monday, Workout 2 on Tuesday and Workout 3 on Wednesday, take off on Thursday; again perform Workout 1 on Friday and Workout 2 on Saturday and take off on Sunday.

Make changes in the training programme as you will have to train using Workout 3 on next Monday, Workout 1 on Tuesday and Workout 2 on Wednesday. The cycle goes on like this.

Based on feedback

Listen to your body’s feedback and take an off whenever you feel too tired. Do not push hard if you are too tired as it might short-circuit your gains. Training smart is very essential to build a great body. This is especially true in the case of trainees who are in their thirties.

Train smart, eat right and take enough rest.

– C. Lakshmi Kumar


Building big arms and weight gain

Posted in training on May 17, 2012 by takeupsculpting
Vitender Singh Pawar

Vitender Singh Pawar


I received a question from a young friend of mine regarding arm building. Here I present that mail of his and also my opinion on the subject.
My height is 177cm; weight, 72kg. I’m thin with tooth pick arms measuring 10 inches roughly. Long ago I read that for one’s arm to grow in size by one inch, he has to increase body weight by 4kg. Assuming I would want to increase my arm size by 6″ (10″ to 16″), I need to become 72+24 = 96kg! (4 kg a year as per Mike Mentzer’s calculation x 6 years).
1. Let’s say I do increase my body weight to 96 kg, will my arm size surely increase to 16″?
2. Is there the weirdest possibility that I can grow a 16″ arm even at 85kg? I mean will genetics favour it that way? Or does the fact that I have a 10″ arm now (weight 72kg) in itself convey that I can never grow bigger arms?
My view:
That you are almost 5’ 11” and only 72 kg with 10” arms shows that you HAVE to gain more lean muscle.
My suggestion is start training and eating right. I don’t know whether a person can keep gaining at the rate of 4 kg every year for six years straight…he might gain that much or might not…he might gain more the first year and less the following years…or whatever.
I come from a school of thought which says that the arms grow to their fullest potential only when the overall body weight increases. I would also like to add that by gaining lean muscle and losing fat, a trainee may not show much increase on the weight scale but his body composition would have drastically changed. Even in such cases, the person might have gained some size in his arms. Examples of such cases are some bodybuilders who are on the shorter side and compete in 55, 60 or 65 kg. Their original body weight might have been 60 kg and contest weight 65 kg. However, by losing fat and gaining muscle, they might have actually gained more than 5 kg of lean muscle than what is seen on the weight scale. In all possibilities, their arms would have grown.
So, I feel a trainee should increase his total lean muscle mass to help his arms grow.
1. Will your arms surely touch 16” at a body weight of 96 kg? They might…or they might be slightly less or more. It’s a hypothetical question.
2. As regards your question on 16” arm at a weight of 85 kg, you have to try and see for yourself. There are champs with 16” arms at that body weight…but, each individual is different. Just because it happened for A, it need not happen for B.
And, having a 10” arm now does not mean you can never get a 16” arm. My suggestion is start your journey with a perfect plan today and keep moving towards you goal.

– C. LakshmiKumar

Tips to build huge muscles

Posted in training on May 6, 2012 by takeupsculpting

Mr. India runner-up Senthil Kumaran and 3-time Mr. India Jayaprakash

My friend and I recently had a discussion on points put forth by training experts such as Steve Holman of Ironman and John Hansen, world champion bodybuilder , which can be used by trainees like us in our quest for building bigger muscles. Here are some of those points which may be very helpful:
1. Your workout should be centered around basic movements such as bench presses, dips, squats, deadlifts, barbell rows, military press, close-grip bench press and biceps chinning.
2. Finish your workout within 60 minutes.
3. Steve Holman advocates partial kind of movements at the end of a couple of sets of basic exercise or even drop sets for a good burn. This facilitates maximum growth, he claims.
4. Holman also advocates the use of certain exercises which he calls ‘stretch position movements.’ Examples are wide-grip dips or flyes (for chest), sissy squats (for thighs), stiff-leg deadlift, overhead extension (for triceps), lying incline side laterals (for delts), pullover (for lats), incline dumbbell curl (for biceps). He advocates doing partials on these too.
5. As soon as you get up in the morning, drink a mix of fast-acting whey protein isolate, glutamine and some fast-acting carbohydrate to create an anabolic environment. One hour later, have a solid meal consisting of slow-acting protein and carbohydrate such as egg whites and oats.
6. Have a serving of whey isolate, casein and BCAA before a workout and immediately after a workout. Half-an-hour after training, have solid meal which may contain chicken breast or fish, brown rice and vegetables.
7. Eat 6 to 8 meals a day, each one providing 20 to 30 gm of protein, depending on the individual’s body weight. Carbohydrate intake should also be based on how much or how little that individual needs. This can be found out by keen observation on how the body changes to a diet plan. Do not get too fat.
8. Take supplements which are specifically formulated to curb the release of stress hormone cortisol.
9. Do perform cardio in the offseason, but do not go overboard – 2 to 3 sessions a week (each extending to 30 minutes) should be fine.
10. Ensure that you get at least 8 hours of sleep; some individuals grow better when they sleep for 10 hours, it seems.

– C. Lakshmi Kumar

Increased testosterone levels cuts down heart attack risk

Posted in training on December 11, 2011 by takeupsculpting

Weight training has a positive effect on metabolic rate, body composition, strength and quality of life.
A Swedish study has recently concluded that men with higher levels of testosterone in blood – more than 550ng/dl – had 30 per cent less risk of heart attack than men with lower levels of test in their blood.
The research, reported in Journal of American College Cardiology, was conducted on over 2,000 men in the 69-81 age group for five years. Number of deaths was low among men who had lowest levels of steroid hormone binding globulin, which is a chemical that determines the level of biologically active free testosterone.
So, the bottom-line is that training sensibly with weights and following a proper diet plan to maintain optimum testosterone levels as we age may help men to keep heart problems at bay.
– C. Lakshmi Kumar