By Iron Vic Steele
I have been having a problem ‘power through’ cardio. I start off strong but fade within 15 minutes. From then till the end of the aerobic session I am dragging myself across the finish line. It was not too long ago when I could power all the way through a session. When I feel strong in my cardio I go faster and longer and sweat more. I turned 40 last January – is my lethargy a sign of age?
Jason, Virginia Beach
Parrillo Performance created a nutritional supplementation “stack” designed to deal with this exact same problem: loss of energy during a cardio session. “Many of elite bodybuilders I work with,” John Parrillo said, “will include upwards of two hours a day of aerobics – in addition to near-daily weight training sessions. This intense level of training need be augmented with supplementation.” Parrillo recommends a three-way supplement stack designed to enhance energy during the session and to accelerate recovery after the session. Supplementation improves overall cardio results. Try this combo and in two weeks you won’t be dragging, you’ll be back to powering.
Muscle Amino Formula™: amino acids are usually (and correctly) thought of as a mass-building supplement. In addition, leucine, isoleucine and valine are used directly by the muscle as a source of energy. Optimally, Muscle Amino Formula™ capsule are taken before an aerobic session to “super-compensate,’ to load up with amino acids in anticipation of their loss. It is recommended to take 2-5 capsules both before and then again after the cardio session. Part of why you run out of gas is you run out of amino acids (and glycogen.) Amino acid super compensation will help forestall energy nosedives that occur during a cardio session.
Max Endurance Formula™: those that perform serious aerobic exercise will often detect an odor of ammonia in their sweat. This is an indicator that the body is breaking down muscle tissue, amino acids, to use as fuel. The ammonia smell is evidence that the body is unable to clear waste products. Because the body cannot burn fuel efficiently a carbon skeleton of amino acid is burned, leaving an ammonia by-product. There can be no fat burning when the system is producing ammonia. For those that work hard and sweat significantly, uric overload is a common syndrome that can be eliminated by taking 5-8 Max Endurance™ capsules 20-minutes before the session. Clear the ammonia smell by thinking ahead.
Liver Amino Formula™: Parrillo beef liver tablets are loaded with heme iron, a blood-cleanser and blood-enricher. One common, yet undiagnosed malady for hard trainers like yourself is iron-deficiency anemia. When afflicted with anemia, a lack of iron adversely affects energy levels. Iron anemia is easily corrected by supplementing with Parrillo Liver Amino™ tablets. Each of these little powerhouse tabs contains 1.5 grams of protein. Clean up you blood, shore up iron, add some amino acids and let’s get on the other side of these mid-session energy drop-offs.
What is your take on deltoid lateral raises done to the front, side and rear? I see some guys do lateral raises heavy and loose while other guys do them light and strict. The heavy poundage guys kind of heave the bells up as high as they can. The light poundage guys will lift them up to shoulder height and even hold them before lowering. Is one style superior to the other?
The guy with the biggest, most ripped deltoids in the history of bodybuilding, Paul Dillet, rarely went heavier than a pair of 40s in seated side or front lateral raises. Dillet would obtain a mind-blowing pump using dinky poundage and an exaggerated range-of-motion. At the other extreme, I have seen Mike Mentzer heave a pair of 100s maybe a foot in the air, these were more like ballistic deadlifts than lateral raises. Mentzer too would obtain a mind-blowing pump moving massive weights for short distances. Which type of guy are you? Experiment with both. I know what John Parrillo would say, “Do both!” John would advise, “Start with the heavy bells and when burned out, drop the poundage and keep going, performing strict laterals, using the fuller range of motion. Finish with a hi-rep set of machine lateral raises using forced reps or drop sets.” Do not neglect the rear delts. Really squeeze the shoulder blades together at the top of each bent over lateral raise rep. Front raises are usually done with the back of the hand towards the ceiling. Many roads lead to deltoid Rome.
You never talk about the decline bench press. I think it is a terrific pec exercise. It seems to have fallen into extinction. A few years back, I would regularly see benches that could decline or were permanently declined. Not anymore. I think declines are a terrific pectoral exercise and deserves to be used on a regular basis. Why has the decline declined??
I hate the decline bench press and am glad it is dying. Have you ever missed a rep in the decline barbell press? Better have a spotter or some people in the room. I had a bad experience at a young age when I missed a rep. Like a dumb ass, I had put collars on the barbell and could not shake the plates off the bar when I missed a rep. That was the closest I ever came to death in lifting. I had to turn my head sideways and let the 225-pound bar slide down the side of my head, almost ripping an ear off in the process. If you insist on doing declines, use dumbbells. Good bench pressers will turn a flat bench press into a decline by arching the back. An elite bench presser will set his shoulders on the bench and arch the back: the feet are spread wide; the tensed glutes barely touch the bench. This declined flat-bench arch allows for improved leverage and shortens the rep stroke. I would advise learning how to arch in the flat bench and forget all about the decline bench press.
Is it possible to get a good cardio workout with a pair of dumbbells? I have been reading about the great cardio results some of these kettlebell guys are obtaining. Basically, they are hoisting single and double kettlebells in differing patterns, drills and exercises. These guys are burning calories at a fantastic rate – far superior too riding a stationary bike or jogging. I don’t have any kettlebells, but I have a pretty good selection of dumbbells. Couldn’t I do some kettlebell stuff with dumbbells?
Jaco, Nova Scotia
Absolutely. Light weights hoisted for extended periods generate the highest calorie-per-minute burn rates ever recorded. I don’t know anything about kettlebell protocols – I don’t need to. Try high rep dumbbell snatches, repetition cleans & presses, don’t forget to do some high rep squat sets holding light dumbbells. Start doing high rep sets to create a cardio effect: 20 reps in the squat followed immediately by 20-reps in the clean, followed immediately by a 20-rep set of another exercise. Keep this up for the duration of the session. This is an incredibly demanding workout and I would suggest you start with the lightest possible dumbbells. By combining a muscular effort with aerobics, you build mitochondria. More mitochondrial density means bigger muscles. This improves your ability to get leaner. Shoot for 15-minutes of non-stop lifting in your first session. Add one-minute duration in each subsequent session. Within three weeks you will be up to 30-minute sessions. This is tough work: be ready to sweat buckets using this super-light poundage, lifting-as-cardio approach.
Where did Mike Tyson get his power from? I saw some YouTube stuff on his knockouts. He was always fighting much taller men. Very rarely did he fight someone his own height. He was always punching up at opponents and they were always punching down. He had a stocky physique, in his prime 218 standing 5’11” – he was really short by heavyweight standards. Were you a fan? He seemed so much STRONGER than everyone else…
Yes, I was a big Tyson fan. The key to his power was visible in his massive back and powerful legs. His knockout shots started in the feet, were amplified passing through that massive back and because he was both powerful and fast, he hit like a jackhammer. As you noted, he was almost always punching up. He would dip and come up out of a squat position when inside striking range. If they landed, his upper cuts were devastating. At his peak, there wasn’t a man alive that could withstand a Tyson upper cut. Interestingly, his most used knockout punch was an outside left hook to the opponent’s right temple. Tyson would be inside punching up, swarming the opponent when all of a sudden, he’d uncork a wild looking left that caught opponents off guard. His back was incredible. He was a terrific example of great genetics combined with great early coaching. If you want a back with Tyson’s thickness and power, get really good at heavy low rep (3-5) sets in the deadlift and the bent over row. Learn to row both conventionally and the Dorian Yates style 70-degree reverse grip row. Rows and deadlifts build upper and lower lats and provide the raw, brute integrated power Tyson routinely displayed.
I have a personal trainer that insists we spend 30-minutes warming up before we start strength training. Is this really necessary? The trainer has us use nothing but exercise machines, no free weights. I am new to this, but it really seems that with this trainer the energy is focused on getting ready to train, not so much the actual training.
Janet, Staten Island
Get a new trainer. You will never improve with this protocol. The best warm up for any progressive resistance exercise is doing that exercise (specificity) with a super-light poundage and an extreme range-of-motion. PS – do not engage the services of any personal trainer that uses all machines in weight training. Machines are inferior to free-weights, from a muscle-building strength-infusing vantage point and any trainer that uses all machines, a.) Doesn’t know machines are inferior or b.) Has their clients use machines to make it easier on the trainer.